NEW DELHI: The CPM attacked Army chief General Bipin Rawat over his comments about dealing with civilian protestors in Kashmir, saying that it exemplified all that was wrong with the way the Narendra Modi government was dealing with the situation there.
Calling the incident of Army using human shield shocking, the Left said that the Army chief of staff, by commending this act, had let down the high professional standards of the Army.
“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,” said CPM politburo member Prakash Karat.
Karat said that not only the people of Kashmir but the Army itself would suffer irreparable damage due to the government’s blind adherence to the use of coercive force against the civilian population. His comments appeared in the editorial of the latest issue of the party mouthpiece ‘People’s Democracy’.
“Some former serving generals of the Army have decried the use of the civilian as a human shield. They have correctly pointed out that the Army cannot treat its own people in such a manner. Gen Rawat makes no distinction between young protestors throwing stones and armed militants,” he said. Citing an earlier statement by the Army chief, Karat said Rawat had warned that the Army would treat all those who did not support Army operations or obstructed them during encounters as “overground workers of terrorists”.
“To taunt protestors 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. The Army chief in an interview had defended the action of Major Gogoi who tied Farooq Ahmad Dar, to a jeep as a deterrent to stone pelters.