The CPI(M) has criticised Army Chief Bipin Rawat for defending the use of a “human shield” in Kashmir, saying his comments reflected the views of the Modi government, which seeks to “suppress” the people there. The Left party said the Army and Kashmiris would suffer “irreparable damage” because of the government’s “blind” adherence to the use of force against civilians in the valley.
“Unfortunately, the Army chief is reflecting the views of the Modi government which seeks to suppress the people of Kashmir, who are voicing their political protest, through sole reliance on the use of force,” former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said.
Karat’s comments appeared in the editorial of the latest issue of the party mouthpiece ‘People’s Democracy’. Speaking to PTI last week, Rawat had said the Army would have found it easier to deal with protesters in the valley if they fired weapons instead of hurling stones at security personnel.
Rawat had also defended the actions of Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a Kashmiri man to a jeep to deter stone throwers. Karat alleged Rawat made no distinction between young protesters throwing stones and armed militants.
“To taunt protesters to take up arms, so that the Army could deal with them appropriately, is a needless provocation and displays an attitude which is unbecoming of a senior Army officer,” he added.
Karat further said the Army chief’s remarks exemplified “all that is wrong” with the way the Modi government was dealing with the situation there.
“The Army chief of staff, by commending this act, has let down the high professional standards of the Army,” the Marxist leader said.
Karat was asked questions by reporters on the sidelines of a CPI(M) politburo meeting here, but refused to speak more on the subject.
“It was an editorial (which is) the party stand,” he said.