Army depoliticises tragedy

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Army has done well to be proactive on the recent incident in Budgam district in Jammu and Kashmir in which two “innocent” boys were killed. On Friday, it admitted that the incident occurred as a result of a “mistake” and violation of the rules of engagement. It has announced an ex- gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 5 lakh to the injured.
It also declared that disciplinary action would be taken against those guilty of violating the rules of engagement. What’s more, it has ordered an inquiry, which will be completed in 10 days. Needless to say, speed is of the essence in such cases. These steps are bound to have a salutary effect on the people of Kashmir. During the recent floods in the state, the Army played a major role in the massive rescue and relied operation.
It is also true that it could not meet the growing expectations of the people, who faced one of the worst floods in recent history. False propaganda also played a role in alienating the security forces from some sections. Army’s prompt action taken in the wake of the Budgam incident will surely go a long way in convincing the Kashmiris that it has nothing to hide and it will show no leniency to the guilty, whatever be their rank. Nothing is more important for the Army than credibility.
It has been doing a difficult job in the Valley with vested interests, enjoying patronage from across the border, doing everything possible to make their presence extremely difficult. The security forces have to be constantly on the guard against agent provocateurs. Sometimes when it gets on the nerves of the Army personnel, they sometimes fail to act according to the regulations.
True, whatever be the provocation, the Army personnel cannot take the law into their own hands, which is what the Army has conveyed to them by promptly ordering an inquiry. All this will, hopefully, prevent politicians from politicizing the unfortunate incident for garnering votes in the upcoming elections.

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