Srinagar, June 29: The ugly fight between the Indian Army and the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to claim credit for killing the two Militants, who reportedly attacked a convoy, is a dangerous reminder of the stark fact that Indian armed forces are competing with each other for ‘kills’, said a report published in an Indian newspaper.
The report said ‘Kills’ is a word that has for long been used by the Indian Army and paramilitary battalions to measure success in Kashmir over the last few decades. Battalions, in fact, have been judged on the number of killings.
The report mentioned the time when Indian armed forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir competed with each other to add numbers to their monthly reports to claim praise from commanding officers and secure medals for their battalions.
In the late nineties, when some Kashmiri youth reunited with their families under the so-called settlement plan initiated by the then puppet Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, they were considered prize catches. In long interviews with some of these youth, when asked what was the motive for their accepting the offer, they said, “We thought we’d return to our families and restart life,” but were now regretting their decision.
When asked why, they said, “We have become pawns in the hands of the Indian armed forces. The Army is holding us up as prizes and if we go to the market to buy essentials, the BSF catches us and says, ‘why did you give yourselves up to the army, why not to us. We regret the decision (to give up arms).”
The BSF was then a critical part of the operations and has now been replaced by the CRPF. The boots on the ground may have changed but as the Pampore fight for bodies and weapons shows, the turf wars between Indian armed forces have not ended.
A senior army officer who did not want to be identified said, “The fight between the Army and the CRPF when dead bodies of their colleagues are still lying on the ground is despairing.”