Butchered jawans, callous politicians – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

A thread runs through the volatile Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and the killings fields of Latehar in Jharkhand―the thread of politicians’ treachery and pigheadedness against the backdrop of horrifying treatment meted out to the soldiers. Whether it is the fallen soldier who is beheaded by the Pakistan Army scoundrels or the murdered jawan of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) whose body is mutilated and a bomb placed in his belly, there is a pattern in the events: while military and paramilitary troopers are valiantly fight the enemies of the Indian Republic, the political masters and opinion makers play the familiar smoke-and-mirror games.

Let’s begin with the pattern. After every outrage, there is sanctimonious indignation expressed by our political leaders. So, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid described the killing of two soldiers and the mutilation of their bodies as “extremely shocking and unacceptable, even barbaric.” He went on to pontificate, “Whether they [Pakistanis] take responsibility or not is another matter, and we are still talking about that. But it cannot but be described as barbaric.”

“Still talking about” what? Whether there was a beheading or not? Whether Pakistanis did that? If yes, whether they were state or non-state actors? He talked about “proportionate response” by India. What is the content of the response, Minister? Is there anything specific? Is there anything apart from platitudes?

Taking refuge in bunkum, Defence Minister A.K. Antony also used vacuous adjectives like “provocative” and “inhuman.” He said, “We will convey our protest to the Pak government and our DGMO [Director General of Military Operations] will talk to his Pak counterpart. We are closely monitoring the situation.” Again, just platitudes and pro-forma statements.

Given the appeasement-loving nature of the Congress-led government, a military response is ruled out. But does it intend to respond at all? Does it even have a non-military response? Chances of even that are slim.

After the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde was asked whether the outrage have any effect on the new recently relaxed India-Pakistan visa regime. He flatly denied any impact. He said, “Whatever agreement has been entered into, it will be carried on. There is no rethinking on visa agreement.”

In short, it will be business as usual. Whatever may be the national sentiment, the thinking that prevails is that of the likes of senior Congress leader and former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar. In June last year, he had said, “The process of dialogue [with Pakistan] should be uninterrupted and uninterruptible.”

His rationale: “The biggest victim of terrorism has been Pakistan. The number of people killed in Pakistan due to terrorism is more than those killed anywhere else in the world.” It’s like saying that a chap who misbehaves with his women colleagues should not be punished because he also beats his own wife regularly! Poor wife-batterer! And poor Pakistan!

As I mentioned in earlier articles, there is a lot India can do to pressure Pakistan mend its ways without firing a shot. For that, the political class has to first resolve that the western neighbor ought to be punished. Second, we have to end all diplomatic and trade ties with it. Yes, it will mean the giving up of all what Aiyar says has been gained in the last many years. There will be an economic cost; there will also be the political cost in term of Muslim anger. But these costs have to be borne by those who want to take on Pakistan. There may not be very large number of politicians who would want this―and certainly there are none among the ‘secular’ ones―but that is beside the point. What I want to underline is the range of peaceful actions that we can take against Islamabad.

Third, we can use our economic might to bring Islamabad to its knees. We can forcefully ask Pakistan’s international backers and supporters to pressure it to hand over the culprits of 26/11, the torturers of Capt Saurabh Kalia and his five comrades, the recent offenders, and so on. We can launch a drive for the disbanding of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP). The FoDP aims at supporting democracy in Pakistan and boost its social and economic development. Launched in New York on September 26, 2008―exactly a month before the 26/11 mass murder carried out by Paki terrorists―on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session. The initial meeting was co-chaired by United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. The FoDP should not be allowed to grow into a monster.

India has the heft to launch, overtly as well as covertly, speculative attacks on Pakistan’s currency. We can also take measures to exacerbate its trade deficit, which during July-November 2012 exceeded the $8-billion mark.

There are many more ways in which Pakistan can be taught a lesson. But nothing of the sort will be done. The reason is that the Congress is full of leaders like Aiyar; besides, it has befriended the people who are sympathizers of anti-India forces, be it jihadist or Naxal. If anybody cries for a tough stand against Pakistan, they are accused of being jingoism and macho patriotism. And strict action against the Maoists is dismissed by Left-leaning intellectuals―who dominate the opinion-making apparatus―as ‘repression’ and ‘state terrorism.’

Their constant refrain is that the Maoists are our own people who are angry because of the lack of development. Even former home minister Shivraj Patil called the Maoists as “our brothers and sisters.” This, despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling Maoism in February 2010 as “the biggest internal security challenge facing our country.”

The sympathizers in our system ignore the minor facts, such as “our brothers and sisters” massacre with impunity, terrorize citizens in the country’s poorest regions, recruit child soldiers, slaughter CRPF men, and plant bombs in the bellies of slain troopers.

Our soldiers and paramilitary men are being butchered. But the dukes, marquises, and counts of ancien regime are absolutely insouciant about the barbarity that our jawans face. For the grandees of the system sit pretty in the ivory towers of panchsheel, secularism, and socialism

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