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A.K.Antony needs to make a tough choice

The mystique of Thiruvananthapuram never wears off – even after a 62-year old life spent in 10 different capital cities in the world. What a splendid sight that a chief minister would subject himself to a punishing Mass Contact Programme in the heart of the city in an open public stadium where he would hear out public grievances for 15 hours at a stretch from 9.30 am on Thursday all the way till 12.30 am on Friday. 

Oommen Chandy received 28000 petitions and took on-the-spot decisions on 20000 of them. I wandered aimlessly among the milling crowd in the sweltering heat and watched the drama unfold, walking back home as dusk fell, recalling the strange emotions drifting across the mind when I first stood in front of the the iconic fresco of the hand of God giving life to Adam, painted by Michaelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. 
Again, where else but in Thiruvananthapuram could India’s defence minister A.K.Antony come and lament that Gandhiji has few takers now amongst we Indians! And that too when the militarization of India’s foreign policy is so far advanced under his own stewardship. But unlike Chandy, Antony was being merely perfunctory.
How else could Antony be a mute witness to the Army’s refusal to budge when a democratically elected leader Omar Abdullah makes the minimalist demand that the AFSPA should be lifted at least from those parts of J&K that have been tranquil for years? Antony couldn’t be subscribing to the Army’s contention that Kashmiris are unvarnished secessionists and deserve the draconian law to put good sense into them? 
Abdullah doesn’t claim to be a Gandhian and he is willing to use state coercion selectively to deal with situations when or if mass alienation explodes into violence. That is reasonable. The point of contention here is actually that in future the Army should subject itself to the country’s laws over any alleged instances of atrocities against innocent civilians rather than taking shelter behind the AFSPA. 
Antony has two choices: he should either quit his job when he is unable to assert civilian supremacy, or he should cease to profess devotion to Gandhiji’s ideals. The two can’t go hand in hand. In this case, Home Minister P.Chidambaram seems to concur with Abdullah’s submission. Yet, PC never claims himself to be a true Gandhian. Nor Chandy.      

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5 Responses

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  1. tick says

    The mystique of Thiruvananthapuram never wears off

    The left leaning city Trivandrum makes Mr Bhadrakumar think of a manifestation from renaissance man Michelangelo in Rome. But didn’t renaissance actually emerge from his birth place, the secular spirits of the city, Florence?

    Further south is a real Triveni-samudram, where three oceans converge, a decompressed phonetics of the name Trivandrum. This perhaps is no phony conception; anyway it ports the mystique to more expansive secular spirits.

    With such expansive spirits, may be everybody can better appreciate the two options sensibly outlined by Mr Bhadrakumar.

  2. Ranjith M says

    Editor is not giving due diligence to the complexity involved in removing AFPSA without taking into confidence of the stake holders involve. He is making ruling as simple as selecting or deselecting of AFPSA and pressing submit button in a computer for the defense minister…
    No wonder if he suggest a proposal to replace defense ministry with good software program…
    The writer completely ignores people factor in army and how to motivate an army soldier who is staying away from the family and fighting a war with insurgents risking his life. Any disrespect to army can cause reduce motivation levels and even fail the fight against insurgency, Already we have suicides and revolts reported from army serving in Kashmir. Army is meant to fight and kill the enemy as quickly before the enemy kills him, that is how they are trained. If they are required to capture the criminal and do the process of policing why we need army there… Its better remove army and have police take control and have the normal rule of law run the place

  3. myemail_11 says

    I guess the Central Government needs to make a documentary as to what actually the AFSPA does in troubled areas like Kashmir. What actually has been the advantages of this system, how it benefited the public, etc. We have seen in many debates that the privacy of public is affected because of presence of army, etc. However, nobody was there to say how the people are protected by the army, etc. etc. So, i guess the government must make a documentary on this, telecast it in all TV/news channels and let the people of whole india and the world know what are the advantages and disadvantages, etc., of the AFSPA.

  4. Rajesh Vyas says

    The issue is whether the Abdullah family should be allowed to dictate terms to achieve their not so honorable objectives.

  5. ijnijn says

    Army has sacrificed a lot and should not bow down to these cowards and politicians

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