September 2019 News
Not A Single Bullet Fired In Kashmir In Past 1 Month: NSA Doval7 September 2019
Times of India
New Delhi: India on Saturday debunked allegations of excesses by security forces in Jammu Kashmir in the wake of the Modi governments decision to nullify Article 370 and change the nature of the state by asserting that not a single bullet had been fired in the Valley in the past one month. It defended the detention of local politicians, saying it was necessitated by the consideration to save human lives. Not a single bullet has been fired so far and this makes it the most peaceful month in a long time, national security adviser AK Doval told a select group of reporters here. Seventy-five people died in police firing in violence that broke out in the Kashmir Valley after security forces had killed Burhan Wani of Hizbul Mujahideen (in 2016), Doval recalled, emphasising that there had so far been only one death since August 5. It is a tribute to the judiciousness with which we have handled the situation. And remember, we are talking about a terrorhit territory, he added. The NSA justified the detention of the politicians and suggested that the detenues would have to be kept in preventive custody until an environment conducive for the functioning of democracy is created. None of them (the politicians) has been charged with sedition or any criminal offence. They (the local politicians) had to be detained because there was an estimate that terrorists could exploit situations of public gatherings, the NSA said, stressing that for his government, safety of human lives took precedence over all other considerations. Dovals remarks came against the backdrop of concerns expressed by foreign governments over detention of politicians and business leaders as well as escalation of Pakistans propaganda over human rights violations. Doval justified measures, including curbs on the use of mobile phones and Internet. Pakistan will be happy if there is bloodshed and trouble on the streets. For us, right to life is the most important of human rights. Safety of people is most important priority of the government and at times reasonable restrictions may become necessary for ensuring peace and protection of lives. He said the government was accountable to courts for measures it had taken. Our law provides for habeas corpus. We can defend each detention in court. There will be serious consequences for extrajudicial actions, he said. Doval said detentions and restrictions were a response to the threat of violence by Pakistan which has always used terrorists as instruments and stoked subversion. This is a stimulant-response situation, he said emphasising that it was Pakistans plans to organise disturbances which have prompted imposition of restrictions. It depends on what Pakistan does. We have evidence that it has gathered 230 terrorists at different points on LoC. Some of them have already sneaked in and are being instructed to carry out attacks. Asked whether he was suggesting that the curbs will remain in force forever since Pakistan was not expected to change its behaviour, the NSA said, If there is a problem, there will be a solution, too. He said prohibitory orders have been enforced not because of choice but due to compulsion. We will not like to use coercion. We started easing restrictions after the first 24 hours. We kept hospitals running and there is no instance of basic necessities like food, medicine, drinking water, electricity, sewage, being denied. He also said all the landlines are functioning and restrictions on mobile phones and internet persist only because these are dangerous from the point of view of security. He agreed that the denial of mobile telephony and internet facilities had led to unhappiness but said this cannot get precedence over safety of lives. If people get something, it is natural for them to ask more of it, he said. However, we will like a situation to come soon where mobile communication and internet services are also restored, said the NSA. Situation is much better than what I had anticipated. Prohibitory orders remain in force in only 10 of the 199 police stations in the state. Nearly 92.5% of the geographical area of the state is now free of restrictions. However, he also acknowledged that the threat of Pakistan-inspired violence might not disappear soon. Pakistan has used terror and subversion since 1988 when it launched Operation Topac to carve out space in JK with the objective to accomplish the kind of goals they had achieved in Afghanistan. They raised an army of terrorists. In the process, 42,000 lives were lost and they themselves got radicalised as a society. And now they realise that their dream has been demolished, said Doval questioning Pakistans locus standi to protest against the recent decisions on JK. He also claimed that the Modi governments actions on JK have been welcomed by a majority of people in the state. Article 370 provided no special status, it allowed for special discrimination. People of the state can avail of the rights which, unlike their counterparts in the rest of the country, they could not avail of so far. He dismissed the resistance from parties as confined to a vocal and coercive minority. They were never popular. There is a vocal minority who can say whatever it wants to say because India is a free country. But that does not mean they represent public opinion.