Army encounters and other killings

Indian Army Elite 9 Para Commandos
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Today, there is news of yet another Kashmiri student dying in an Army encounter. The Army says that it had received information on suspicious activity and had laid an ambush. When they detected movement, they challenged the persons, and on not getting a reply, they opened a fire in which Manzoor Ahmed Magray a student of the 12th class was received fatal injuries while another unidentified person escaped.

A helpless acceptance seems to have paralyzed India. Human rights abuse must not be tolerated, yet its happening. The army is struggling to change, quite visibly, but suffers from a tremendous credibility deficit. Human rights abuses have become THE crucial link to Kashmir. Address them, and you have a foot to stand on.

I am not blaming anyone here. Not the Army, not the Kashmiris, but several important questions arise.

  • How is it that so many of the killings are supposedly by accident when locals claim that they are in cold blood? Why is the Army making so many “mistakes”? What is being done about this phenomenal lack of competence if they are genuinely mistakes?
  • If the Kashmiris know the process (and its been publicized often enough) that they are asked to identify themselves and attacked if they don’t seem legit, what prevents them from answering? There must be a greater effort to find this out. What are the people doing or thinking that they believe its not a good idea to answer when asked by the Army? Again, I’m not saying that they necessarily have something to hide. It may be possible that they simply are scared of the Army getting their hands on them, but this needs to be found out. Too many stories involve innocents not answering and trying to escape when asked to identify themselves.
  • Is the Army actually following SOP? Are they asking people to identify themselves before attacking for sure? Are they asking loudly or clearly enough that it is understood? Are they allowing enough time for response? Or is it possible that they may want to surprise militants and may choose to bypass this, only to claim they did it later?
  • The burden of proof lies on the person who is Armed. While it is true that the Army personnel may be trigger happy considering that many stories of militants opening fire after being called to identify themselves also abound. The Army needs to relook at this protocol to see if it can be modified in any manner that decreases chances of careless/mistaken killings and possibly improves chances of capturing militants alive as well. I would say, if not fired on, and without being certain that the intruders are militants, there may be a possibility to attempt other ways of intervention. I am not a military strategist, and I am not trying to be patronizing, but surely their task becomes heavier from the regret of innocent deaths as well as the resistance because of them?
  • There need to be protocols around evidence collection. If this was an ambush based on information, it wasn’t like an unpredictable, stray incident. There should be some planning of audio/video recording while laying out the ambush, which can be later used to prove that they did indeed do what they could to prevent the death. It shouldn’t be rocket science, considering that cheap and effective equipment is easily available.
  • There need to be investigations into some of these “too good to be true” deaths of innocents. What are the chances of the Army receiving a specific tip off enough to plan an ambush at the same time when no militants seem to be there, but an innocent conveniently wanders into the trap? Is there a possibility of deliberate misinformation in order to destabilize the region? Efforts should be made to find out if the innocent wandering into the trap was planning to go there for something specific that could be passed to the Army to set him up and who and how many people knew of it. This could include efforts to look into if it was convenient for anyone to choose to set him up to die.
  • Kashmiri leaders need to look beyond the “evil India” rhetoric and while protecting and protesting against the misconduct of soldiers, they also need to see if this is being misused to create deaths for raising an uprising. I am not saying that they shouldn’t blame Indian soldiers. What I am saying is that they should focus on non-exploitation by anyone, not just soldiers.

Why am I raising all these questions? Because it is quite evident that if the Army wanted to kill a few people for giggles, they wouldn’t need an elaborate charade of ambush and all that. If they wanted to fake it as an encounter, they would need to scope a suitable target. Plus, the Army is seriously making a lot of effort to rein in wrongdoing. This makes me think that this incident was extremely unlikely to be intentional, even if the Army had evil intent.

I refuse to believe that the pure freedom fighters who could kill other separatist leaders and plan for protests to have a certain number of deaths or pay stone pelters would hesitate to get a few innocents killed one way or the other at the hands of the Army when they saw that things are cooling down. Particularly when this comes on the heels of two innocent girls being killed by militants who unexpectedly drew flack from the population. If they want the anger focused on India again, this seems logical.

Again, not saying that they did this either, but things are obviously not how they seem, and while the Army is the reflexive and most popular target smoking gun and all, its not the only one on the horizon.

Something is obviously being done intentionally here. The question is who is doing it and why.

Comments 42

  • Harshal, I am not saying the Army is all bad, but just because they are brave and courageous and risk their lives guarding us doesn’t mean that they are always right either. That is a heck of a lot of individuals and separate tendencies we are talking about.

    It is a failure of the system if wrongdoing is not corrected and it causes problems in the land.

  • Harshal, I am not saying the Army is all bad, but just because they are brave and courageous and risk their lives guarding us doesn’t mean that they are always right either. That is a heck of a lot of individuals and separate tendencies we are talking about.

    It is a failure of the system if wrongdoing is not corrected and it causes problems in the land.

  • If you seriously think the Army is innocent and what is happening in Kashmir is propaganda, I suggest that you try and speak with someone in Himachal Manali/Kullu/Lahaul… bonafide 100% Hindu area with nothing to do with Muslims or Pakistan, but the Army convoys pass through Rohtang Pass and on to Ladakh and Kashmir.

    Ask them, what will happen if an Army convoy dents your car in passing and you object.

    I have suffered as a Hindu when my entire camp was confisticated (I was a nomadic horsewoman at that time) because my helper got was there in some video hall at Marhi where some other local boys got into a panga with drunk soldiers. All the boys absconded. My helper was Nepali, but advised to abscond too. I was in Delhi, when I got the call that my tent and all equipment was confisticated by the Army and two locals got beaten badly for trying to prevent it. Hindu locals, BTW.

    I returned urgently and asked for my stuff back. Absolutely no one in the entire camp “knew anything about it”. I was a nomad, so that was my entire home, mind you. I wanted to file a police complaint, but absolutely everyone I knew told me it would be a bad idea. I and my then boyfriend could “disappear” or turn out to be militants. Strangely, after asking for advice from a Army bigshot whose son I knew, the gear no one knew about arrived at the door of the place I rented.

    Not a single Muslim in this story. No Pakistani either.

  • If you seriously think the Army is innocent and what is happening in Kashmir is propaganda, I suggest that you try and speak with someone in Himachal Manali/Kullu/Lahaul… bonafide 100% Hindu area with nothing to do with Muslims or Pakistan, but the Army convoys pass through Rohtang Pass and on to Ladakh and Kashmir.

    Ask them, what will happen if an Army convoy dents your car in passing and you object.

    I have suffered as a Hindu when my entire camp was confisticated (I was a nomadic horsewoman at that time) because my helper got was there in some video hall at Marhi where some other local boys got into a panga with drunk soldiers. All the boys absconded. My helper was Nepali, but advised to abscond too. I was in Delhi, when I got the call that my tent and all equipment was confisticated by the Army and two locals got beaten badly for trying to prevent it. Hindu locals, BTW.

    I returned urgently and asked for my stuff back. Absolutely no one in the entire camp “knew anything about it”. I was a nomad, so that was my entire home, mind you. I wanted to file a police complaint, but absolutely everyone I knew told me it would be a bad idea. I and my then boyfriend could “disappear” or turn out to be militants. Strangely, after asking for advice from a Army bigshot whose son I knew, the gear no one knew about arrived at the door of the place I rented.

    Not a single Muslim in this story. No Pakistani either.

  • I understand ur stand on this.. I hav been to the valley twice, 1ce when I was small & 1ce few yrs back… Out there Army has been posted to control the land from Pakis & Chinese and not to haress their own citizens.. U need to go urself & see the fear in the Army personal’s eyes by urself.. They live knowing next sec will be their last as some small child will come & pop a granade on them.. If Kashmiris really want Azadi then they shud 1st stop their support for Pakistan.. Since thats not happening so Amry tries its best to save themselves.. I dont say amry is always right, but its not always wrong either…

  • I understand ur stand on this.. I hav been to the valley twice, 1ce when I was small & 1ce few yrs back… Out there Army has been posted to control the land from Pakis & Chinese and not to haress their own citizens.. U need to go urself & see the fear in the Army personal’s eyes by urself.. They live knowing next sec will be their last as some small child will come & pop a granade on them.. If Kashmiris really want Azadi then they shud 1st stop their support for Pakistan.. Since thats not happening so Amry tries its best to save themselves.. I dont say amry is always right, but its not always wrong either…

  • Yeah, I know you didn’t use the word Paki agent, I did, because it described what you were talking about nicely.

    I don’t know Faysal well myself, but from what I do know, he’s a Kashmiri youth fed up of being bullied by the Army, fed up of the Army killing Kashmiris at will, to get cash rewards meant for militants killed. He is fed up that the Army has unquestionable power to arrest, kidnap, torture anyone at will. He is frustrated with the face of India he meets. He is fed up that the protests that were born of the helpless rage of people like him got hijacked by the separatists. He sees Kashmir getting fed up again and knows there is another spate of unrest and violence coming up. AND he is fed up of being thought anti-National for protesting. He is anti-National because he has lost hope of getting justice, but is still fighting for it.

    Most of these kids don’t even want political separation. To them Azadi is the freedom to live without being arrested, searched, insulted, tortured and killed because no one is bothered to keep an eye on what the Army is up to. And when they find out, they are too busy making excuses.

    If Manzoor deserved to be killed for hating the Army, women deserve to be raped for being visible to men.

  • Yeah, I know you didn’t use the word Paki agent, I did, because it described what you were talking about nicely.

    I don’t know Faysal well myself, but from what I do know, he’s a Kashmiri youth fed up of being bullied by the Army, fed up of the Army killing Kashmiris at will, to get cash rewards meant for militants killed. He is fed up that the Army has unquestionable power to arrest, kidnap, torture anyone at will. He is frustrated with the face of India he meets. He is fed up that the protests that were born of the helpless rage of people like him got hijacked by the separatists. He sees Kashmir getting fed up again and knows there is another spate of unrest and violence coming up. AND he is fed up of being thought anti-National for protesting. He is anti-National because he has lost hope of getting justice, but is still fighting for it.

    Most of these kids don’t even want political separation. To them Azadi is the freedom to live without being arrested, searched, insulted, tortured and killed because no one is bothered to keep an eye on what the Army is up to. And when they find out, they are too busy making excuses.

    If Manzoor deserved to be killed for hating the Army, women deserve to be raped for being visible to men.

  • Well if u consider urself in that 99% then I hav no issues…

  • Well if u consider urself in that 99% then I hav no issues…

  • Then How did you call 99% Kashmiris as Pakis and Islamic Terrorist?

  • Then How did you call 99% Kashmiris as Pakis and Islamic Terrorist?

  • Hey, I did not call any1 a Paki agent… Pls do not misunderstand… I hav no clue who he is or what he is…

  • Hey, I did not call any1 a Paki agent… Pls do not misunderstand… I hav no clue who he is or what he is…

  • Harshal, why don’t you try asking Muhammad Faysal whether he wants to join Pakistan at all before calling him a “Paki agent”?

    There is plenty of evidence of Army misconduct. You think the Army is going to apologize for killing an insurgent?

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jZoTudJJyhfZ3nJqi9Jmi9NGxVwA?docId=5861937

    If the army was innocent, the hundreds of investigations being stonewalled would be cleared in a minute and there would be headlines proclaiming their innocence. It is because it is impossible to prove Army innocence that there is such a ‘delay’. If all Kashmiris were terrorists, it would be a simple matter of shooting them all dead or giving them freedom and cutting them off from India.

    Kashmiri Pandits being killed is no excuse that Kashmiri Muslims. The government tucked tail and withdrew the Pandits and when they should have acted for justice and the resolution of Kashmir, they didn’t. That is no reason for them to tuck their heads in their asses and see the death of another bunch of people.

  • Harshal, why don’t you try asking Muhammad Faysal whether he wants to join Pakistan at all before calling him a “Paki agent”?

    There is plenty of evidence of Army misconduct. You think the Army is going to apologize for killing an insurgent?

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jZoTudJJyhfZ3nJqi9Jmi9NGxVwA?docId=5861937

    If the army was innocent, the hundreds of investigations being stonewalled would be cleared in a minute and there would be headlines proclaiming their innocence. It is because it is impossible to prove Army innocence that there is such a ‘delay’. If all Kashmiris were terrorists, it would be a simple matter of shooting them all dead or giving them freedom and cutting them off from India.

    Kashmiri Pandits being killed is no excuse that Kashmiri Muslims. The government tucked tail and withdrew the Pandits and when they should have acted for justice and the resolution of Kashmir, they didn’t. That is no reason for them to tuck their heads in their asses and see the death of another bunch of people.

  • Better… May God Save India from Radical and Lunatic Islamic terrorists & above all from Pakis…

    • I had to delete one comment here, because it was a little … uh extreme, but I want to ask the Kashmiris something.

      What makes you so certain that every killing claimed in the name of Army is actually so, or that no one ever sets up someone to die at the hands of the Army? If someone can get people like Lone and Mirawaiz killed, you think they will hesitate to get a few small fish killed just to keep the anger alive?

      I am not defending the Army, I am only saying its completely stupid to just believe one thing blindly. There is no point asking for an investigation if you have decided what it must conclude.

  • Better… May God Save India from Radical and Lunatic Islamic terrorists & above all from Pakis…

    • I had to delete one comment here, because it was a little … uh extreme, but I want to ask the Kashmiris something.

      What makes you so certain that every killing claimed in the name of Army is actually so, or that no one ever sets up someone to die at the hands of the Army? If someone can get people like Lone and Mirawaiz killed, you think they will hesitate to get a few small fish killed just to keep the anger alive?

      I am not defending the Army, I am only saying its completely stupid to just believe one thing blindly. There is no point asking for an investigation if you have decided what it must conclude.

  • If killing of Pandits 275 of them and Voluntary Exile out of Fear from the Valley is Called Genocide, then What is the killings of hundred thousand Kashmiris since last 20 years, please coin a new term or brandish all of them as Pakistani or Islamists. Seeing people like you talk about a Place unknown to them makes me Say May God Save India from Radical and Lunatic Nationalists

  • If killing of Pandits 275 of them and Voluntary Exile out of Fear from the Valley is Called Genocide, then What is the killings of hundred thousand Kashmiris since last 20 years, please coin a new term or brandish all of them as Pakistani or Islamists. Seeing people like you talk about a Place unknown to them makes me Say May God Save India from Radical and Lunatic Nationalists

  • It depends on how u define Genocide… Kashmiri Pandits were slaughtered & driven out of Kashmir, now I m sure u wont term that as Genocide… There is always 2 sides of coin, it all depends how u wanna look at it…

  • It depends on how u define Genocide… Kashmiri Pandits were slaughtered & driven out of Kashmir, now I m sure u wont term that as Genocide… There is always 2 sides of coin, it all depends how u wanna look at it…

  • Wow! Harshal. You just nailed the reason that every Kashmiri is a Terrorist! That’s why in Kashmir, Genocide is at work!

  • Wow! Harshal. You just nailed the reason that every Kashmiri is a Terrorist! That’s why in Kashmir, Genocide is at work!

  • More than 99% of people in kashmir are terrorists as some1 from their family is related to Pakistan… I bet that kashmiri student would hav attacked the Indian army or else why would Indian army act like Paki or Chinese army & kill its own people… Its just a propaganda by Pakis & islamic extrimists…

  • More than 99% of people in kashmir are terrorists as some1 from their family is related to Pakistan… I bet that kashmiri student would hav attacked the Indian army or else why would Indian army act like Paki or Chinese army & kill its own people… Its just a propaganda by Pakis & islamic extrimists…

  • Yes. But the thing is, while the Army is doing it, they are also very obviously trying to change their image in the last few months. It is unlikely that a whole group of soldiers staged this, when National media is jumping down their throats. It isn’t like those days of no one knowing.

    Which makes me question if this whole thing is more than it seems

  • Yes. But the thing is, while the Army is doing it, they are also very obviously trying to change their image in the last few months. It is unlikely that a whole group of soldiers staged this, when National media is jumping down their throats. It isn’t like those days of no one knowing.

    Which makes me question if this whole thing is more than it seems

  • They have hidden so much of these murky incidents all these years. Kashmiris have had enough of this rhetoric. And Vidyut, Army has been faking incidents like these as encounters as in the case of Pathribal, Chittisinghpora, Machil Encounters wher innocents werre brandished as Militants which later was found untrue. Army is hunting Kashmiris Like Wild Animals here and when nobody protests they are called Militants and when there are protests they call for Inquiries (which never give justice) and Call it accidental. Too many accidents have happened in Kashmir now. We want these Gun Toting Intoxicated with power troops to be hanged
    Read This for Such Mistaken Identities Murders http://bloodiedrivers.blogspot.com/2010/09/it-is-honest-mistake.html

  • They have hidden so much of these murky incidents all these years. Kashmiris have had enough of this rhetoric. And Vidyut, Army has been faking incidents like these as encounters as in the case of Pathribal, Chittisinghpora, Machil Encounters wher innocents werre brandished as Militants which later was found untrue. Army is hunting Kashmiris Like Wild Animals here and when nobody protests they are called Militants and when there are protests they call for Inquiries (which never give justice) and Call it accidental. Too many accidents have happened in Kashmir now. We want these Gun Toting Intoxicated with power troops to be hanged
    Read This for Such Mistaken Identities Murders http://bloodiedrivers.blogspot.com/2010/09/it-is-honest-mistake.html

  • I am not saying it is the fault of the youth. I am just looking at all the information that is coming in. It is possible that the youth did declare himself, but the Army killed him anyway, it is possible that the Army didn’t ask him to identify himself in the first place, or it could be that the Army asked him to identify himself, but he didn’t because he feared that the Army would harass him…. I am not allocating any fault in this article, just raising the question that if so many innocents are dying in very similar situations, then why aren’t these circumstances examined more carefully?

    It is even too simplistic to say that the Army did it on purpose, because even if they wanted to kill him, after all the media attention and the unrest that is reflecting so badly on them, they would at least try to do it differently or hide it in some way, if they did it on purpose. In any case, what reason would they have to stalk and kill a student in an ambush? Its not like they can fake him for a militant even to earn money.

    Something is very wrong with all these deaths, and India is busy calling it a regrettable mistake, and Kashmir is busy blaming India, and I am willing to bet there is more to this story.

  • I am not saying it is the fault of the youth. I am just looking at all the information that is coming in. It is possible that the youth did declare himself, but the Army killed him anyway, it is possible that the Army didn’t ask him to identify himself in the first place, or it could be that the Army asked him to identify himself, but he didn’t because he feared that the Army would harass him…. I am not allocating any fault in this article, just raising the question that if so many innocents are dying in very similar situations, then why aren’t these circumstances examined more carefully?

    It is even too simplistic to say that the Army did it on purpose, because even if they wanted to kill him, after all the media attention and the unrest that is reflecting so badly on them, they would at least try to do it differently or hide it in some way, if they did it on purpose. In any case, what reason would they have to stalk and kill a student in an ambush? Its not like they can fake him for a militant even to earn money.

    Something is very wrong with all these deaths, and India is busy calling it a regrettable mistake, and Kashmir is busy blaming India, and I am willing to bet there is more to this story.

  • I don’t know what to say when you say its the fault of the youth who was killed because he didn’t declare his identity. This is mourning for me and a Passing incident for Indians.

  • I don’t know what to say when you say its the fault of the youth who was killed because he didn’t declare his identity. This is mourning for me and a Passing incident for Indians.

  • What the Hell? Honestly you know nothing about Kashmir. Please don’t write while sitting in some cozy room

  • What the Hell? Honestly you know nothing about Kashmir. Please don’t write while sitting in some cozy room