The killing of civilians in Ganderbal by a rogue police and army ring for promotions and rewards is outrageous. At a time when the governments of India and Pakistan are trying to normalise ties, such incidents will have an adverse impact on the peace process. One thing is clear: the people of Kashmir are always under threat. When terrorists are not killing them, the security forces are. What difference will peace initiatives make to them when the so-called protectors turn killers?
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The army and the police cannot maintain peace without winning the people's trust. But in Kashmir, they are functioning as they would in a hostile territory. Terrorists cannot be fought as long as they are part of the general public. The most important task, therefore, is to separate the terrorists from the people, to achieve which the security forces need to have the people's confidence.
But unfortunately, our uniformed forces act like the U.S. army in Iraq not only in Kashmir but also in the Northeast, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh. The dangerous trend among the security forces to become a law unto themselves should be weeded out.
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While stringent action should be taken against the personnel involved, care should be taken not to lower the morale of the armed forces. The Kashmir insurgency has spread to other parts of the country. The army's hands should not be tied at this juncture because of a few inhuman killings. The media should take care not to blow the incident out of proportion.