Homeland Security

Indian Flag at Lal Chowk, Srinagar?
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 25 Jan , 2011


The ongoing march by a political party to raise the national flag in Sri Nagar is being dubbed as politically motivated by its detractors. It indeed is a move for political mobilization for ostensibly a matter of national pride. But in a democracy, is there any movement or any endeavour by any political party, which does not factor political gains and losses. Political parties nevertheless try to mobilize people within the known parameters of their respective ideologies.

It is perfectly legitimate. Political parties do not exist only to fight elections.

Which sensitivities of Kashmiris are some people talking about? Is it nationalistic sensitivity or anti-national sensitivity?

This is not the first time that national security issues are being politicized. It has happened even with respect of Kargil Diwas and Vijay Diwas. There is no political unanimity in tackling the Maoist problem.

The moot question is as to why otherwise an innocuous endeavour to hoist national flag at Lal Chawk at Srinagar on the Republic Day has become such an explosive issue? Why has it become a controversy? The same controversy was courted by the same political party when it had made a similar move in the year 1992.

It is a stark reminder that the security situation in Kashmir has not changed in the last two decades. The religious discourse has also not changed. The security situation has been allowed to rather deteriorate to a level when the state has to employ massive machinery to abort the so called ‘Ekta Yatra’. It is indecisive and subverted politics over the years that are responsible for this situation.

It clearly reflects the level of threat posed by the anti-India and pro-Pak constituency in Kashmir. It indicates that there are elements in the separatist leadership of Kashmir, who cannot breakaway from the shackles of the Pakistan military-intelligence establishment. The area of Lal Chawk has been traditionally symbolic of this threat for the last few years. It is for this reason that the concerned political party has embarked on this symbolic yatra. Leave alone any Indian, if a Kashmiri Muslim or a Kashmiri Pandit wants to hoist the flag at Lal Chawk, who is Yaseen Malik to stop them? If he does, he should be charged for sedition.

The General must realize that the security discourse of this country is mainly dictated by politics. It is a reality and there is no escaping the fact.

In a television debate, a former Chief of Army Staff tried to describe the whole issue as politically motivated. The General must realize that the security discourse of this country is mainly dictated by politics. It is a reality and there is no escaping the fact. Contrary to what he said, the morale of the troops does get affected when Pakistani flags are hoisted and the Indian National Flag is trampled upon. Which sensitivities of Kashmiris are some people talking about? Is it nationalistic sensitivity or anti-national sensitivity? Is it Kashmiri sensitivity or sensitivity of J&K? Is it pro-unity sensitivity or anti-unity sensitivity? Is Kashmiri sensitivity restricted to the 18 percent area of J&K?

How much more time, money and lives it will take to address the sensitivity of anti-India constituency in Kashmir? If this constituency is in minority in Kashmir then why are the central government and the state government so apprehensive?

The brave and matured men of the Indian Army have been witness to this insult for so many years. They have been sacrificing their lives for a solution to the problem. Left to the military, the problem would have been solved long time back, but the vicious politics of Kashmir and ensured that it did not happen. All governments in the Center have been hostage to Kashmiri politicians, some of whom draw their inspiration and sustenance from powers bent upon derailing the Indian story.

Also read: Time to stop appeasing China

The military therefore cannot solve an internal problem without demanding the appropriate political support and decisions. It can be done, once it categorically conveys to the political masters that military personnel are not expendable and that they fight for objectives within a given time-frame.

Till then, the country is doomed to bleed with no end in sight and security will continue to be sacrificed at altar of politics.



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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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