A report by Arun Sharma in Indian Express dated 01-August-2018 “Administration turns down Army proposal for practice fire”, says that the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Kathua in J&K has so far refused permission to the Army to conduct practice firing in the Field Firing Range in Hiranagar on the plea that it will cause inconvenience to the local residents, even put their lives at risk. He also issued a sort of megalomaniac warning that Army should desist from carrying out goodwill missions to entice locals in favour of practice firing.
The exact statement of the DC reads: “The contents of the communication is surprising and objectionable… you were specifically told that you cannot carry out any sort of firing in the Hiranagar firing range”.
The concerned Army authorities have exhibited extreme sensitivity, because they are more than aware that peoples support is a must towards discharge of national security duties and responsibilities. The people of Hiranagar and Kathua, located close to the International Boarder (IB) are die hard patriots and nationalists. Probably that is why a rape case was foisted in Kathua, and is coming unstuck as the judicial process unfolds.
A number of youth from this region are enrolled in the Army every year. What is wrong if the Indian Army extends its Sadbhavana (goodwill) outreach to locals in these areas through schools by donating educational and sports equipments? Is it wrong to win the hearts of the Indians? Is it not the national duty of the Army to do so?
Now read this communication from Army to DC: “It is informed that progressive upgradation of firing activities will be planned for operationalisation of Hiranagar Field Firing ranges. Consequently, Sadbhavana projects will be executed by the Army in the area for generating goodwill.”
Now look at the humane side of the Army. Despite the fact that it is mandated to secure the country, and train for all contingencies, and is not responsible for public referendum on training activities, the Army still made a plan to reach out to the concerned people, to elicit their willing cooperation in carrying out routine training activity.
Now see the arrogance and lack of security sensitivity of the DC. He replied: “This has been seen with utmost concern that you are trying to brush aside the directive of the undersigned and persisting with your idea of firing by sugarcoating the matter in the Sadbhavana projects.”
As per the Indian Express, the DC further communicated: “before giving its nod for practice fire, the administration has to seek consent of local population. The people were opposed to it in view of loss of property, life and cattle in the event of shells falling in residential areas.”
From the above comment, it smacks that the DC in his capacity has done nothing to win over or placate the local population, to ensure that practice firing is facilitated, which for the Army is a legitimate and sacred performance.
From the tenor of the DC’s correspondence, it appears that the DC rather treats the Army as its adversary.
The truth of the matter is that bureaucracy in India has not emerged out of the colonial mindset, i.e. colonial laws, colonial mindset, colonial administration, colonial bunglows, colonial sense of entitlement, and colonial maths of servants and subordinates. The bureaucracy has not realized that the quality of administration is a function of security both internal and external. The bureaucracy, especially at the functional level of respective state of the country is hardly conscious of the changing contours of national security.
DC Sahab, when the British were ruling our country, there was no Pakistan, no LoC, no POK; Tibet was a buffer state and China was not our neighbour. Let me however reiterate that the British Collector never neglected the Army because the rule by Great Britain (?) could not hold for a day without the Army. Colonial bureaucracy was therefore highly sensitized to the security imperatives of London.
DC Sahab, the state that you are serving in has been battered by Pakistan sponsored proxy war and global jihad. Your district is in close vicinity to the IB. Firing and shelling by Pakistan is an endemic feature. This causes destruction of houses, loss of human lives and cattle. Retaliatory firing is from India as well. This fire has to be delivered with accuracy and for effect, which requires constant training and practice. DC Sahab, if there is to be no retaliatory action, the citizens on whose behalf you are acting, may not be in a position to continue to live in their respective areas.
NH-1A, which runs in close vicinity to Hiranagar, Kathua and Samba has been constantly under attack by Pakistan. The targets have been several Army units and an Air Force Base. NH-1A also known as the ‘Terror Highway’, is the most critical link between J&K and rest of India. Therefore DC Sahab, the security forces have to be on a very high state of alert and training. Do you want untrained or inadequately trained troops to meet the security challenge posed by Pakistan in your area? Moreover, your area is infested with Pakistan operatives, therefore firing practice in Hiranagar has its importance and strong message.
DC Sahab, if people like you were alert and sensitive, the Kashmir Valley would never have been radicalized / Wahabized. Consequently, Pakistan proxy war would not have acquired present proportion. By the way DC Sahab, did you file your concern when the Rohingyas were being located near the IB and sensitive locations (military and police). The bureaucracy very well understood the dangerous facets of Rohingyas.
DC Sahab, please do not view J&K in isolation. Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front attacked an Assam Rifle patrol recently in Mizoram. Bangladesh authorities have revealed and Abdul Kareem Tunda has confirmed that the LeT has been recruiting Rohingyas for global jihad. The LeT, as you know, DC Sahab, has an overwhelming role in your area in the Pakistan sponsored proxy war. There is disconnection, therefore, between J&K and Northeast with regard to Rohingya threat.
DC Sahab, there was a blast in Nellore Court in South India in 2016. An Al Qaeda affiliate Base Movement owned responsibility citing it as a revenge act for killing of Burhan Wani. Four Malayalees were killed in Kupwara in 2008. They were recruited by the LeT and were go to Pakistan for advance training. Zakir Musa’s video, and interview (Indian Express) of Abdul Rasheed Abdullah, who is the head of Islamic State cadres from Kerala in Afghanistan, have many things in common as far as their agenda is concerned. Both speak of Caliphate, Shariat, Jihad, Ghazwa-e-Hind, and decry the idea of nation-state.
Hence DC Sahab, what is happening in J&K has an impact as far as southern part of the country. I urge you to understand the magnitude of the national security threat. If you were to develop the larger perspective of national security, you would understand the acute imperative of keeping the Army battle-worthy and alert. Firing practice is one aspect on battle-worthiness. DC Sahab you are just a symbol, I have nothing against you. The disease actually is endemic. Through you I seek to address the entire civil administrative apparatus of this country.