Zero tolerance for lapses

Life imprisonment given to seven army men, including commanding officer, involved in fake encounter case will go a long way in improving the image of the Army. The verdict has come in the wake of the Army admitting guilt in the killing of two in Budgam district in Kashmir recently. Together the two decisions will be seen as the Army’s policy of zero tolerance for any wrong-doing by its personnel.
It was on May 3, 2010, that three youths were killed at Macchil in Kupwara district. At that time the Army claimed that the three were Pakistanis trying to intrude into the Indian Territory. The judicial process initiated has found that they were from Nadihal village in Baramulla district. As it transpires, army personnel organised fake encounter to claim benefits like awards and out-of-turn promotions.
It caused widespread protest in the Valley where the people knew that they were local boys and not Pakistani terrorists as claimed. It caused a major setback to the Army’s image. One good thing that happened is that the Army did not defend the heinous act and subjected the culprits to its judicial process. That is how they were punished. This will act as a strong signal to the armed forces deployed everywhere that the Army will not tolerate any indiscipline or excesses.
The security forces deployed in Kashmir face a tough situation. They have to be on their guard at all times, as a minor lapse can cause danger not only to themselves but also to the state. They are also provoked by the terrorists to take the law into their own hands.
Their desire is to pit the Army against the common people. This is all the more reason why the Army personnel should ensure that they do not take any step which will compromise their standards.
The new defence minister Manohar Parrikar has already made it clear that the Army would not tolerate any lapses on the part of its personnel. All this will improve the Army’s image as one of the world’s most disciplined forces.

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