Thank God, the second cease-fire programme has failed. In just a day or two after the “sacred” day of Eid, our security forces will be fully released from State created “jail” and will not have to bend in their bullet-proof jeep to save themselves from a hail of stones from young hoodlums of the so-called Kashmiri culture.
What was common in both the cease-fires was the sentiment behind both was so very “secular”, so very “humane”.
Thank God, their State inflicted humiliation has ended. And thank God that the Modi government made it last just for a month.
In contrast, Prime Minister Vajpayee’s cease-fire began on November 28 and was extended three times — from December 28 to January 26, from January 27 to February 26, and from February 27 to March 20, 2001, this last extension continuing until May 30.
What was common in both the cease-fires was the sentiment behind both was so very “secular”, so very “humane”. Vajpayee’s announcement on November 19, 2000, said “The holy month of Ramzan… is soon approaching. The government has, therefore, instructed the security forces not to initiate combat operations against militants in Jammu & Kashmir during this most pious month in the Islamic calendar.” The ceasefire began on November 28 and was extended three times — from December 28 to January 26, from January 27 to February 26, and from February 27 to March 20, 2001, this last extension continuing until May 30 although hostilities continued, with over 800 persons killed, according to figures compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal. The Hizb, Laskhar, Jaish, and other groups dismissed the cease-fire as “drama” and “a trap” laid by the Indian government.
Vajpayee, you see, was not only a very tolerant and “sweet” person that he is often cited by Ms Mehbooba Mufti, the present Chief Minister of the J&K State who initiated this latest cease-fire “idea”. And remember, too, that he was often accused of being yearning for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In contrast, Narendra Modi is a hardened realist. He okayed Ms Mufti’s cease-fire proposal probably because he was being slammed far too often for the insistence of his view that “Talks and Terror” can’t go together’ with reference to Pakistan. He wanted to quash that. Further, Ms. Mufti’s proposal was reportedly backed by a State all-party delegation, had gained some traction in the policy community. And, to prove that he was a true democrat, he approved it despite reports that Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, had already opposed Ms. Mufti’s proposal as had Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh and the State BJP unit. Like Vajpayee, Modi too was able to silence opponents within his party and alliance. (ibid)).
But, he proved himself as a pragmatist and as the country’s Prime Minister when he stopped the devastating effect on morale of our defence services by halting the cease-fire within a month from its commencement, whatever Home Minister and other seniors may have advised him to the contrary. Remember here that Narendra Modi loves his security forces as no other Prime Minister of the past is known to have had.
Incidentally, but importantly it must be admitted that the anguish of our security forces — and of the public at large — may well have been lessened considerably if we had correctly interpreted the phrase “cease fire” as it was meant to be.
For instance, Vajpayee didn’t seem to know that the entire media world was, right from November 27 last year, painting the world red with the ‘cease-fire’ word while he himself meant NICO — ‘non-initiation of combat operation.’ That NICO bombshell came in The Indian Express interview of February 15, 2001, with A K Suri, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police. Suri said there that “The PM has not used the word ‘cease-fire,’ it is the media which manufactured it. The PM has said ‘non-initiation of combat operations’.” (This writer’s rediff.cm column of March 6, 2001)
Even NICO, it seems, had two interpretations for Vajpayee & Co. On the day the cease-fire was extended by another three months, a correspondent of The Hindu learnt that the government had issued a directive to the security forces to conduct selective operations against groups of foreign terrorists but hold up offensive operations against local terrorists.
This time around, too, there seemed confusion on the correct meaning of “cease fire” For a day or two, the Home Ministry’s orders were reported as the security forces having the right to react and impart force on those who inflicted violence, or those who were creating aggression against us. But our security forces behaved as though the Government had imposed ahimsa on them. For instance, just the other day, they were inactive when a jeep wagon was found itself under attack from a large group that was throwing stones and sticks and chairs at them from outside and were jumping on the footboards of their jeep. The security forces should, instead, have reacted with rubber bullets of their guns, if not with firing pellet guns. Why didn’t they do that? Was it because the Home Ministry orders (in English or Hindi) not explained to them by the commanders of various security forces?
Where do we go from here?
First there is Pakistan, obsessed with taking our Jammu & Kashmir State through a Plebiscite put on the table by the UN Security Council Resolution No. 47 of April 21, 1948. Despite the explanation of that Resolution as being impossible to implement till the Pak army and its other forces withdrawing completely from that State, and the UN itself publicly announcing that Resolution as being buried long ago, as also declaring the issue of J&K being a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, our neighbour continues to behave like a broken record. It’s time, therefore, to tell Pakistan that there can be no talks with it till Pak too buries that broken record, once and for all.
Secondly, for “talks” with Pakistan, another condition to be insisted upon is that Pak should agree to return to us the area called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) which was seized by them in the 1947-48 war it fought with us. It should be bombarded with our line that it was the whole State of Jammu and Kashmir which was acceded by its then Maharaja to the Dominion of India after Partition. Millions and millions of copies of the Accession document signed by the then Maharaja of J&K State must be regularly dropped over Pak airspace.
- Free Trade agreement with Pakistan should be abolished benefits should be banned straight away with or without the WTO’s consent.
- The Indus Water Treaty benefits, presently given to Pak, should be stopped.
- As for cross-border terrorism in J&K being carried out by Pakistan for years and years, there is that excellent suggested recently made on TV by Dr Subramanian Swamy. He says that the Narendra Modi Government must immediately declare Governor’s Rule in J&K, ease out the existing Governor, and appoint a tough Army man instead in order to see that the State gets good governance at the earliest in order to ensure a State that is at least internally free from terrorist influences.
Good plan, what?
 When Vajpayee announced cease-fire and what happened next – May 14, 2018, Indian Express
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