A report by BBC quoting Indian army sources has revealed that many soldiers fear that they are effectively becoming an “army of occupation” in Kashmir.
According to media sources, the report titled “Why Indian army defended Kashmir ‘human shield’ officer” appeared on BBC.com on May 31, 2017. Indian army sources have told BBC that morale among soldiers stationed in the Kashmir Valley is very low. Many soldiers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with their role in Kashmir, saying they fear they are effectively becoming an army of occupation, says the report.
The report puts in perspective the controversy surrounding the awarding the army major who committed the act of tying a Kashmiri youth, Farooq Ahmed Dar, to the bonnet of an army jeep and paraded him through many villages of Budgam.
Indian Army Chief on May 28 backed the act of using a civilian as human shield and termed it as “innovative” saying the Army is fighting a “dirty war” in Kashmir. He said, the commendation for major has a purpose of boosting the morale of soldiers.
The report further says that many Kashmiris fear that conflict in Kashmir will worsen. “They say that the award of the medal to Major Gogoi has deepened opposition to Indian rule and to the presence of the army,” it says.
On the issue of worsening conflict, the report quotes Gen Rawat saying “In fact,” he told journalists, “I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then I would have been happy. Then I could do what I (want to do).” The report terms General Rawat’s views as “extraordinary sentiment” and says it is a measure of just how difficult India is finding it to keep order in occupied Kashmir. “His worry is that Kashmiris are losing their fear of his troops. If that happens, he says, the country is doomed,” the report adds.