…and the way it has influenced Kashmir politics!
Let me remind and firmly reiterate the fundamental principle of natural justice, “every person is innocent until proven guilty”.
A newspaper story based on the leaked internal inquiry report of Board Of Officers (BOO) formed by present army chief to review the functioning of the top secret unit set up under his predecessor has raised fingers against ex army chief and one of the prominent political leader.
In the beginning two important points were raised by many. One the veracity of the leaked report and second the timing of the leak. First issue got elucidated when central government authorities almost confirmed the contents of the report and both political and government leadership described the report a serious matter to be handled with utmost care without undermining the authority and image of country’s most vital institution—Army. The second apprehension regarding the timing of the leak is yet to be clarified both by the newspaper concerned and the political leadership in power. Retired army chief in question, Mr. V.K Singh remained in news at the end of his service career due to his date of birth disagreement and subsequent impact on date of his retirement. Even after his retirement (in bad taste) he is in news.
His taking the government, particularly the ministry of defense, head on by approaching the court made history. At that point of time there were different opinions on the conduct of Mr. Singh beyond his official duty as army chief. But UPA government that time and even now made the issue personal and thus the leakage of report just few days after Mr. Singh’s virtual joining hands with BJP the arch rival of UPA (Congress party to be precise) raised many eyebrows and the action of ill timed leakage smacks of an element of vindictiveness.
Many a time incidents of placing contents of official reports surreptitiously in public domain through selected news papers got embracing, but this time round beyond opening the can of worms related to Kashmir politics it has exposed the Army and its leadership to public scrutiny and has dented the image of many important people. Unfortunately, in whole of the subcontinent the military people are being dragged into controversies and at times they are troubled to the extreme. The case of General Fonseka in Sri Lanka, General Musharaf in Pakistan and General Hussain Muhammad Irshad in Bangladesh are recent example of post retirement haunt. No doubt contrary to most of the countries in the region the Indian army and its leadership are least controversial with reference to their role in politics and civil administration. But the present revelation has put the organization in the dock and requires immediate damage control and cleanup at all levels without undermining its credibility or eroding its image any further.
The report has allegedly put name of one of the senior politicians and minister of Jammu and Kashmir as collaborator of Technical Support Division (TDS) Gen. Singh’s brainchild, and misuse of secret service funds. In the first instance the concerned politician accused of taking a paltry (paltry in political circles only) sum of twelve billion rupees to implement a huge mission of influencing opinion against a government that has everything at its disposal to check its adversaries, looks like ‘a small favor blown out of proportion’. Secondly the politician in question definitely has enormous clout in a particular area of the valley and can influence more than one assembly constituency but not that big a shot so as to run his sources amok in all directions to instigate unrest and change governments that too in a volatile state like Jammu and Kashmir.
Beyond all this, more significantly this whole episode has brought the weakness of Jammu and Kashmir’s political system and politicians in open and has exposed the interference of central authorities or some overenthusiastic, devious individuals into the political affairs of the state pointlessly. And at the end, it is not the case of one specific politician in the state getting benefited but a lot more politicians in Kashmir of lesser mettle and matter irrespective of political party or ideology one way or the other get sponsored and promoted clandestinely. ‘Yahaan Daal ma kalaa nahi; saree Daal hi kalee hai’.