Would it succeed like Operation Vijay
By Faraz Ahmad
We are currently too busy thumping our chest, telling Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a la Colonel Pickering (My Fair Lady) , “You did it, you did it” to sit back and ponder over why and wherefor of the “Operation Surgical Strike.”
We don’t care to ascertain whether we killed two Pakistani soldiers and left behind one Chandu Babulal Chauhan in the custody of the Pakistanis to gloat over as Praveen Swami, one of the most well informed Defence analyst in media circles wrote and I quote, “Government sources said the area around Mankote and Mendhar saw some of the most fierce fighting on Thursday with an Indian assault claiming the lives of two Pakistani soldiers. The fighting was centered around Roshni Post from where Indian Special forces were providing heavy fire support as they targeted rural safe houses and military forward movement of artillery on Thursday.”
But the Hindustan Times Defence correspondent Rahul Singh quoting unnamed sources here stated, “They (the strikes) were conducted two-three kilometres across the LoC…Seven launchpads were targeted.” Also quoting the Indian Army, Singh revealed that India’s toughest fighting men — soldiers of the elite Parachute Regiment — were heli-dropped at pre-designated sites on the Indian side of the LoC. They crossed the de facto border on foot, and were stealthy enough to maintain surprise.”
While official announcement merely mentioned an unspecified number of Pakistanis killed in this “surgical strike” on launching pads of terrorists across the border. Rahul Singh made so bold as to specify that in all we succeeded in killing 38 Pakis. Great feat, if it is true. But then which assault rifle fire from this side of the border, can provide fire cover to anyone moving and operating 3 kilometres deep inside Pakistani territory dropped by a helicopter. Such contradictions leave us ignorant beings a little confused and befuddled in all this Tarzan’s Yahoo cry.
While denying the Indian claims Pakistan dismissed it as mere usual fire exchange at the LoC in which two Pakistani soldiers were killed and one Indian soldier captured alive by them. Well that at least proves one thing that India troops did cross the Line of Control (LoC), otherwise how could our jawan be captured by them. But how far inside we went and how surgical was the entire operation, is the moot question. Strangely the UN Observers posted on the LoC since 1948, denied noticing any unusual activity.
But more significant is the disclosure by none other than former Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh that this is not the first time the Indian troops have ventured on such incursions inside the Pakistani territory just as they do in our territory like in Pathankot and Uri. He mentioned that in 2013, when the Pakistanis came and decapitated two India soldiers during the UPA regime. We too , retaliated and did the same to them as well, except that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi lacked the lung power to gloat over it and the media and generally the Indian establishment just hated them, to give them any credit.
On the other hand the BJP and its cheerleaders in the media and generally in the entire establishment have a knack of trumpeting their defeats as victories. One wonders how many of us recall the Kargil episode which lasted three months and where we lost 527 Jawans and officers, two fighter jets and a helicopter trying to push back a handful of Pakistani troops who audaciously captured our border check posts deep inside Indian territory in Kargil sector of Kashmir valley and then would not vacate it till the then US President Bil Clinton ordered the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to do so and the then Indian Defence Minister in the NDA government George Fernandes provided them safe passage. We celebrated our victory calling it Operation Vijay holding back our fire for three days to let the Pakis retreat. Clinton told us in our Parliament how he helped India by ordering Nawaz Sharif. Brigadier Surinder Singh later disclosed how we looked the other side when the Pakis were coming in and Indian Defence establishment from the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to George Fernandes to the then Army chief Gen. V P Malik all ignored the warnings coming from the border watchers in their force, presumably planning to capitalize on it in the impending mid-term elections of 1999 to the Lok Sabha .
Only the BJP was capable of gloating over such a humiliating situation, call it ‘Operation Vijay’ capitalize on it and return to power with comfortable numbers in the 1999 by elections to the Lok Sabha. Had a Manmohan Singh been at the helm, he would have been torn from limb to limb by an Arnab Goswami, Rajat Sharma and their ilk on Television screens. This is the naked and blatant partisan ship of our so called free and objective media.
It is being stated that the preparation for this surgical strike was on since the Uri attack. Maybe. But the change in the direction of the wind was visible in the Prime Minister’s Independence Day address when he raked up Baluchistan. There was no Uri then. So the decision to fan anti-Pakistan sentiments, always in abundance in a vocal section of our society, was taken much before Uri.
In January this year Rohith Vemula a Dalit scholar of Hyderabad Central University committed suicide over the continued persecution by the Sangh student body the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) backed and inspired by Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatraya and the then Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani. The treatment meted out to Rohith caused a nationwide outrage with Ambedkar student bodies and various Left outfits of students providing street support to the anger and anguish of Dalit students in different parts of the country.
The Modi government attempted to put a lid on it but it didn’t quite work in the face of pressure from the charged mood of Dalit students. The Uttar Pradesh and then Punjab elections are slated for early next year. End of 2017 is the election to Modi’s home state Gujarat where again thanks to the Patidar agitation of Hardik Patel and later the Una humiliation of Dalits resulting in nationwide Dalit protests, the situation did not appear all that rosy.
Even as the JNU students were agitating over Rohith’s killing the Kashmiri students jumped in to also focus on the judicial killing of Afzal Guru . But then the Central government was keen on seeing that Mehbooba assumed the chief ministership of Jammu and Kashmir leading the first government in the state in the history of independent where the BJP was a coalition partner. So the Delhi Police avoided touching a single Kashmiri student then.
The Sangh/BJP have dreamt of creating exclusive enclaves in the Kashmir valley on the pretext of accommodating Amarnath Yatris and residential colonies for the security forces. This required a popular Kashmiri leader to preside over such an operation and who better than Mehbooba could assist them in this project, the Modi-Amit Shah ruling clique felt. This betrayal of Mehbooba naturally evoked violent anger among the already alienated Kashmiri youth.
Mehbooba lost all her credibility with the agitated Kashmiri youth who once idolized and worshipped her. Neither Mehbooba did anything nor did the Centre make any effort to smoothen the ruffled feathers of the agitated Kashmiri youth and instead retaliated to the agitation with all the force at their command by entering forcibly the Kokernag village and shooting down their 21 year old icon, Hizbul Mujahdieen commander Burhan Wani. That was July 8.
By this time the Patidars led by an educated unemployed Patel youth , Hardik Patel started an agitation in Modi’s home state Gujarat demanding the unbelievable— reservation in employment and education for the upwardly mobile, prosperous and politically influential Patel community of Gujarat or better still scrapping the reservation for the Dalits altogether. Obviously that movement supported by numerous Sanghi outfits covertly or even overtly had a clear anti Dalit undercurrent.
Then came the Una incident in which the already angry and annoyed upper caste youth ostensibly belonging to the Gau Raksha Dal, resentful of the Dalits, brutally assaulted four Dalits for flaying the hide of a dead cow handed to them by a farmer. The action had a nationwide reaction and Dalits and their supporters all over the country rose in protest against the Modi-Amit Shah dispensation.
In the 2014 elections the BJP surpassed all records in Uttar Pradesh winning 73 of the 81 Lok Sabha seats, a feat even Jawaharlal Nehru at the height of his popularity could not boast of. That was achieved by Amit Shah by sharply communally polarizing the electorate through Muzaffarnagar and other similar communal flareups as also the whipping up of passions on ‘Love Jihad’ and the campaign that the secular parties were robbing the Hindus and giving away their share to the Muslims.
This campaign helped. But the anti-Dalit actions in Hyderabad, Gujarat and recently in Maharashtra have clearly established that the Modi government needs to do something really earth shaking to inspire the voter in UP and Punjab to vote his party the coming round of elections. Kargil has shown him and all of us the way how Vajpayee turned a sure defeat into a comfortable victory through ‘Operation Vijay.’ So what would sell better than our claim that we have taught Pakistan a real good lesson. Who cares to check the veracity of the claims, anyway.