Mehbooba Mufti to Army Chief: Videos of troop excesses undo progress made

J&K CM calls for action against guilty, warns of national, international fallout

Written by Muzamil Jaleel | New Delhi | Published: April 16, 2017 5:19 am
army chief, general bipin rawat, mehbooba mufti, Kashmir violence, man tied to army jeep, army jeep video, Kashmir man tied to army jeep, Kashmir youth assault CRPF, CRPF assaulted, youth heckly CRPF, stone pelting, stone pelting Jammu, Srinagar bypoll, Srinagar violence, India news, Indian Express Gen Rawat, Governor N N Vohra in Jammu Saturday. PTI

WITH NEW videos of alleged excesses by security personnel emerging in Kashmir, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is learnt to have told Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday that “such conduct of the troops” is “washing away all the progress that the Army has achieved in the Valley over the years”. She has also “sought action” against those responsible.

General Rawat called on Mehbooba in the Capital on Saturday, a day after a video showing a youth tied to the bonnet of an Army jeep in Budgam district surfaced. Sources said “a deeply distraught” Mehbooba told him that such actions have “serious repercussions”, and “appealed for immediate corrective action”.

According to sources, she told him that “while such actions have very serious ramifications for the state, they have far-reaching national and international implications too… it shouldn’t have happened, because it has completely undone whatever progress we have made in the last several years”.

Mehbooba told Gen Rawat that the Army jeep video “has created such a negative image and people are outraged”. She expressed hope that the Army would “take immediate steps to undo the damage”.

“Danday se kuchch nahin niklega (Nothing will come out of the use of force). Whatever has happened till now has happened. Now it shouldn’t be repeated again,’’ Mehbooba is learnt to have told the Army Chief. “Our only choice is to reach out to the people. You (Army) yourself have been conducting Sadbhavna operations and tours for (Kashmiri) youngsters for years. This approach will completely destroy that”.

Sources close to Mehbooba said the Army chief “assured her that he will do something about it”.

Some more videos surfaced on Saturday purportedly showing security personnel using excessive force. Sources said the nature of the videos indicated that it was an “inside” job, most probably recorded by a member of the security team. Mehbooba is learnt to have expressed “displeasure” and emphasised the need for immediate course correction.

In a 53-second long video, a group of youths are being beaten up and made to shout anti-Pakistan slogans. In another 22-second long video, a youth is being beaten with sticks as he shouts for help. Sources said Mehbooba has seen these videos.

Sources said Mehbooba had planned to visit Delhi over the weekend to meet her children and was also planning to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders. “But the Prime Minister and other leaders have all gone to Bhubaneswar,’’ sources said. The last time Modi spoke to Mehbooba was on April 7, when the incessant rainfall had sparked fears of a flood in Kashmir.

Earlier in the day, General Rawat also met J&K Governor N N Vohra in Jammu, where he briefed him on the prevailing situation in Kashmir. “He (General Rawat) was supposed to meet Mehbooba as well in Jammu. But because she had come to Delhi, he called on her at her official residence here,’’ said sources.

Meanwhile, sources said the Army has begun its internal investigation into the Army jeep video. The Army is also investigating two other videos, said sources.

Defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said the veracity of the videos was being ascertained. “Action will be taken against those found guilty of misconduct,’’ he said.

— With inputs from Mir Ehsan

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  1. A
    Apr 16, 2017 at 9:49 pm
    The current situation is not the reflection for deterioration of situation. This is a see-saw situation which will keep happening in cyclic manner till final settlement. In Khalistan the so called khalistani were smart who understood the futility of their efforts and are again proud contributor in development of the nation. Sooner the Kashmiris separatists understood the better for Kashmir.
    1. R
      Rakesh Pandit
      Apr 16, 2017 at 9:14 pm
      Mehbooba Mufti should first stop her po ce from pelting stones. She should "advise" the army later. Much later. Has she shown any alternative method to discourage hooligans in kashmir? Stone pelting is undoing millions of Rupees spent ftom our pocket on Kashmir. If she has no control on kashmiri muslims who provoke security forces, her advise carries no importance and should be ignored.
      1. Ashish Biswas
        Apr 16, 2017 at 10:08 am
        Army must use both stick and carrot policy irrespective what the Kashmir government says. Presently more stick is required where it hurts most .
        1. R
          Apr 16, 2017 at 9:43 am
          This Begum Mufti is a useless and worthless CM. God only Kashmit from such inept and useless leaders. No wonder Kashmir is in such amess. Ofourse all politicains of Kashmir are thorughly useless ans morally corrupt. Begum worrie so much of videos but wwhat about acts of indiscipline - stomne throwing, attacking security men, stan flags, misuse of Mosques and so many other things. The useless lady has nothing to say on that. Kashmir is a fit case for Governors rule. There should be no role for this humbug politicos. The other thing it is time to call the bluff of tthe so called seaparatists leaders.
          1. R
            Apr 16, 2017 at 9:04 am
            Army must be given a free hand in dealing the anti nationals, if it means bringing President's rule in kashmir. These bas.tards are unfit for democracy rule. Aid which is alloted to the state must be curtailed if the people continue to behave against India. Once their wings gets clipped, the hey will feel the pain in their as.s s.
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