CPI(M) has lashed out at Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, saying that he was reflecting the views of the Narendra Modi government, which the Left party claims sought to suppress the people of Kashmir through the sole reliance on use of force. In its mouthpiece, CPI(M) has accused General Rawat of making no distinction between young protestors throwing stones and armed militants. The Left sent a warning, saying that not only the people of Kashmir but the Army itself will suffer irreparable damage due to the government’s blind adherence to the use of coercive force against the civilian population. CPI(M) also said, in order 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. A few days ago, Rawat said that the Indian Army has been facing a dirty war in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that the war has to be fought through innovative ways, as per PTI report. Meanwhile, ruling Trinamool Congress has voiced similar views saying that the Army is not above the law, according to an India Today report.
CPI(M) has criticised Rawat for defending Army officer Nitin Gogoi – he had tied a man to an army jeep and used him as a human shield to deter stone throwers. The move was criticised by human rights activists, Kashmiri groups and by a few retired army generals, as per PTI report. Gogoi was awarded the Army Chief’s Commendation medal for his sustained efforts in counter- insurgency operations.
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The article said that Rawat had, on an earlier occasion, warned that the army would treat all those who do not support army operations or obstruct them during encounters as overground workers of terrorists. It said that the remarks of the Army Chief of Staff about dealing with civilian protestors in Kashmir exemplifies all that is wrong with the way the Modi government is dealing with the situation there.