March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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UNJUST AND UNWISE: ON COUNTER-INSURGENCY OPERATIONS IN J&K

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THE CONTEXT: In a conflict-prone border province such as Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), security forces have to tackle not only terrorism but also engage in counter-insurgency operations in a precise and just manner.  The death of soldiers by militants and civilians who were detained by the Army in the area is a severe indictment of the counter-insurgency tactics there.

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS RELATED TO RIGHTS OF ARMED FORCES:

Article 33 is an exception to the Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution. It empowers the Parliament to restrict or abrogate the application of the fundamental rights in relation to Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces, Police, Persons employed in intelligence or counterintelligence services, and communication systems set up for the said organizations.

Acts such as the Army Act 1950, Navy Act 1957, Air Forces Act 1950 have been enacted as per Article 33. These acts restrict rights such as

  • Freedom of speech and expression
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Freedom to form associations and unions

ISSUES:

  • Human rights violation: The exercise of the extraordinary powers by armed forces has lead to allegations of fake encounters and other human rights violations in the disturbed areas.
  • Law and order situations: “Fake encounter” deaths and alleged torture by security agencies in the Valley have resulted in spurts of increased militancy besides public outrage that developed into major law and order situations.
  • Trust issues with the ruling government: Such actions by security forces targeting civilians in response to militant attacks are clearly problematic. It increases the unpopularity of a regime that has not been democratically elected in the Union Territory where provincial elections have not been held for more than half a decade.
  • Feeling of Alienation:Indiscrimination in the use of violence targeting civilians without just cause only results in the questioning of that legitimacy in the eyes of the people. The use of force further increases the feeling of alienation of the people in the region and solidification of militant actions.

THE WAY FORWARD:

  • Proactive approach of government: The government needs to adopt a more proactive approach toward safeguarding the rights of soldiers upholding both constitutional and moral principles.
  • Development of Disturbed areas: The lack of development in the region is also a major reason for the insurgency over there. Therefore, the Government should take urgent steps to create new opportunities for growth and development.
  • Effective justice delivery: The government agencies must now deliver justice quickly and in a firm manner. There is a need of greater transparency in communicating the status of existing cases to include its display on the army and government’s web sites. Every death caused by the armed forces in a disturbed area, be it of a common person or a criminal, should be independently enquired into and followed by adequate action.

THE CONCLUSION:

Peace and Rights can be established by only synchronised efforts of central and state government along with security forces. There is an urgent need for a clear-cut policy discussing the rights and duties of the security forces and at the same time society needs to be made aware of the sensitivity that an armed force personnel also deserves.

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS

Q.1 To what extent is Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, bearing marginal note “Temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir”, temporary? Discuss The future prospects of this provision in the context of Indian polity. (2016)

Q.2 The banning of ‘Jamaat-e-islaami’ in Jammu and Kashmir brought into focus the role of over-ground workers (OGWs) in assisting terrorist organizations. Examine the role played by OGWs in assisting terrorist organizations in insurgency affected areas. Discuss measures to neutralize the influence of OGWs. (2019)

MAINS PRACTICE QUESTION

Q.1 Fake encounter deaths and alleged torture by security agencies in the Jammu and Kashmir have resulted in spurts of increased militancy besides public outrage that developed into major law and order situations. Examine

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/unjust-and-unwise-the-hindu-editorial-on-counter-insurgency-operations-in-jammu-kashmir/article67680557.ece

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