Vacation of army land in J&K
The tactical silence by army on land issues are being discussed by many in different forums. The timings of handing over of 334.4 Kanals Anantnag high ground to the state without allotting alternate land to army is all part of political game plan. The army has also now agreed to vacate the lower plateau in Kargil in the coming days.
The Northern Command in the coming days plans to vacate 2,493.77 Kanals of land in all three regions provided alternate lands are given to the army.
The issue of denotification of field firing ranges is yet to be resolved by the Coalition Government. The role of army is defending border and also handle proxy war in J and K. The rank and file in the army are vocal about their role and tasks in hand visa-vis the difficulties being faced by troops on ground. The State’s 1,20,849 sq km area is already under occupation of China and Pakistan.
The common issues like mobs helping militants to escape, stone pelting dramas, selfie militancy of Burhan, rise/drop in infiltrations with snow melting on higher ridges, role of over ground workers, misinformation campaign in social media, return of ex-militants from Pak, partial withdraw of AFSPA and vacation of bunkers and posts on the initiative of ruling government will always find its space on all routine operational aspects. But land issues which is closely connected to operational role for soldier serving in J and K has become a point of discussion within the think tankers of J and K.
The Rashtirya Rifles is a temporary force and managed by Home Ministry. The partial withdrawal of AFSPA from few areas could be in agenda of the Coalition Government. The army being replaced by para-military force and JK Police in few areas is on the card, though the security of vulnerable national highway, the army’s main logistic life line will always remain a point of issue. Someone has to explain with good reasons for the troops on ground for making them administratively discomfortable while vacating the lands occupied by the army. Army is also carrying out secondary tasks in the State and all political moves by the Coalition Government need to be fined tuned with dignity.
Amid demands from several quarters that the AFSPA be revoked, the Defence Minister is against such proposals. The subject falls under Home Ministry and immunity to army man should be total.
The government is fully aware of the fact that its 2,07,360 Kanals of land is lying beyond the fence, both at LoC and IB. The movement of peasants and construction of bunkers for safety of people living near border is another major security related issue.
The government claims, 84 security bunkers camps removed in Kashmir since 2010. The removal of remaining bunkers and camps of army and central paramilitary forces will depend upon the review of security situation in consultation with all stake holders, on case to case basis. The number of militants from thousand plus have been brought down to hundred plus as on date. Militarily, security forces have achieved its best and now political players have a major role to play and take it forward. The political players have to handle issues like feeling of alienation amongst population and also imbibing the sense of Indianness to all residing in J and K.
Lt Col R.D Sharma (Retd)