The continued onslaught by the Indian army in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Manipur is finally receiving the scrutiny it should have received a long time ago. The Indian Supreme Court has awoken to the allegations by human rights groups about the Indian army’s extrajudicial killings between 2000 and 2012, especially in the state of Manipur, where cases against it number in the thousands. This is a welcome intervention by the Supreme Court of India and one that is considered incredibly bold as it moves against the army.
Attitudes and responses by the Indian army somewhat parallel attitudes we have been familiar with in our own country. The Indian army’s defence that it was merely carrying out military operations in insurgency-hit Manipur juxtaposed with the 1,528 cases against it is tenuous. Especially on our side of the world, authoritative abuse is common. Although men wielding weapons take an oath to serve and protect, the authority sometimes gets to their head wherein they believe themselves to be excused from following certain laws. Morality and ethics are easily lost upon them. Resultantly, innocent lives are lost at the hands of trigger-happy men. It is laudable that the Indian Supreme Court is bypassing defensive responses by the army, which contends that allegations of fake counters and extrajudicial killings reek of bias and that it acted in accordance with operation plans.
Here, across the border from New Delhi, we may be able to have respite from the IOK massacres that have continued since the murder of Burhan Wani one year ago. Perhaps the corridors of power can apply some pressure on India now to pursue the Burhan Wani case. The Indian Supreme Court finally picking up on extrajudicial murders in Manipur could mean a change in the way the fighting in IOK is viewed. Instead of armies reigning supreme, perhaps better days are possible as citizens on both sides of the border pine for an end to senseless killings.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2017.