Beyond Budgam – Vikas Manhas

Its very easy for all of us to judge and pass on comments on almost anything happening in and around us. Few days ago a couple of boys were killed in army firing in Budgam in Kashmir and another two seriously injured in the same incident. All four along with one another, who escaped unhurt were travelling in a car, when they were fired at by the soldiers in Kashmir. This incident as expected again raised the volumes against Indian army and AFSPA in Kashmir. Media, both electronic and print is full of various stories and reviews regarding the same. In this era of social media, facebook, twitters and personal blogs also contributed regarding the same.

In almost all the stories and reviews, army is the culprit and the boys are innocent victims. Well even I assume that boys are innocent victims but at the same time its not fair to term soldiers as the culprit. Let us try to reconstruct the whole scenario to understand it better.

As a routine troops of 53 RR were stopping and checking the vehicles in Chattergam area. One car arrives at the checkpoint and a soldier waved at the driver to stop the car. Instead of halting, the driver tried to overtake a tipper plying ahead of the car and in the process brushed car against the tipper. Another group of soldiers standing ahead also waved the car driver to halt. Instead of applying foot brakes, the driver pulled the handbrakes and the car skidded off the road and hit the electric pole.

If you were a soldier posted out there, what would you had done that time ??

Before answering, let us keep some facts in mind.

1. You are operating in adverse and hostile circumstances, where an error of judgement could be very fatal for you and the men you command.
2. You are in an unfriendly population environment exposing yourself to grave dangers demanding very high degree of operational effectiveness.
3. Movement of militants from their camps and hide-outs is a routine affair.
4. Terrorists possess sophisticated weapons, modern communication equipment and have moral and financial support from across the borders.
5. Recently your colleagues posted at border have witnessed a suicidal bomb blast on other side of border in which more than 60 lives were lost and red alert has been sounded.
6. Hijacking civilian vehicles is a common phenomenon for the terrorists and due to elections its possibility is increased many folds.

7. Since 1989 more than six thousand of your colleagues have been killed in Kashmir.

The level of stress and hostility is so much that in October 2012 in the same area, army opened fire and killed two soldiers of another unit. During investigations it was found that a patrolling party of the 53 RR asked the Sumo to stop but when it evaded the signal, the soldiers opened fire, resulting in injuries to the driver and two Army men. Later, the two soldiers, succumbed to their injuries. Life is always a gift from God whether that of a civilian or men in uniform.

While answering please don’t look any incidence in isolation but the whole picture in totality.

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