Throwing his weight behind the officer who used a local Kashmiri as a human shield to counter stone-pelters, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Sunday insisted that troops need innovative ways to fight against “dirty war” in violence-hit Kashmir. “This is a proxy war and proxy war is a dirty war. It is played in a dirty way. The rules of engagements are there when the adversary comes face-to-face and fights with you. It is a dirty war…. That is where innovation comes in. You fight a dirty war with innovations,” Rawat was quoted as saying by PTI.
Stoutly defending the incident, Rawat said he cannot ask his men to “just wait and die” when locals resort to stone pelting and hurling petrol bombs at them. He also said it would have been easier for the armed forces if the protesters were firing weapons instead of throwing stones. “In fact, I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then I would have been happy. Then I could do what I (want to do),” he said.
The Army Chief was responding to a query relating to awarding a commendation medal to Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a man to the bonnet of an army jeep and used him as a human shield from stone throwers last month. The officer was awarded for his sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations. A video of the incident had triggered a row with many human rights activists, Kashmiri groups, and a few retired army generals condemning it.
General Rawat also backed the decision to award Major Gogoi and said it was his duty to lift the morale of the army personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. “As Army Chief my concern is morale of the Army. That is my job. I am far away from the battle field. I cannot influence the situation there. I can only tell the boys that I am with you. I always tell my people, things will go wrong, but if things have gone wrong and you did not have malafide intent, I am there,” he said.
Commenting on the prevailing situation in Kashmir, Rawat said, “It will have to be a composite solution. Everybody will have to get involved. Army’s role is to ensure that violence does not take place and the common man who is not indulging in this (violence) is protected,” he said, when asked about the solution to the Kashmir issue.
With inputs from PTI