The Indian Express – Need to tell youth Azadi will never happen, you can’t fight us: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat

General Rawat said he is perturbed by the killings. “We don’t enjoy it. But if you want to fight us, then we will fight you with all our force. Kashmiris have to understand that the security forces haven’t been so brutal, look at Syria and Pakistan”.

Muzamil Jaleel

New Delhi – India, 10 May 2018. Azadi will not happen, you cannot fight the Army, this is a dictum Kashmiri youth need to know, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat has said, in an interview to The Indian Express.

Expressing concern over Kashmiri youth “picking up the gun” and “those who tell them (that) this path will bring Azadi are misleading them,” General Rawat said: “I want to tell Kashmiri youth that Azadi isn’t possible. It won’t happen. Don’t get carried away unnecessarily. Why are you picking up weapons? We will always fight those who seek Azadi, those who want to secede. (Azadi) is not going to happen, never”.

General Rawat said that he doesn’t attach much importance to the number of militants who are killed in encounters with the Army. “These numbers don’t matter to me because I know this cycle will continue. There are fresh recruitments happening. I only want to stress that all this is futile, nothing is going to be achieved by them. You can’t fight the Army”.

General Rawat said he is perturbed by the killings. “We don’t enjoy it. But if you want to fight us, then we will fight you with all our force. Kashmiris have to understand that the security forces haven’t been so brutal, look at Syria and Pakistan. They use tanks and air power in similar situations.

Our troops have been trying their level best to avoid any civilian casualty despite huge provocation,’’ he said. “I know that the youth are angry. But attacking security forces, throwing stones at us isn’t the way”.

He defined the challenge as one to break this cycle so that calm returns. “I don’t understand why people are coming out in huge numbers to disrupt our operations. Who is inciting them? If they want that the militants aren’t killed, they should go and tell them to come out without their weapons so that nobody is killed,’’ he said.

“Let anyone of them say, mein le kay aata hun (I will bring him out). We will halt our operation. We can’t allow people to disrupt our operations and help terrorists to flee”.

Instead, General Rawat said that the people are “inciting security forces by pelting stones at them to disrupt the operations…they are inciting security forces to become more aggressive”.

Asked about the Army’s current muscular policy, General Rawat said: “The Army did try a soft approach too. Until June 2016, everything was fine. What is that incited people so much because of that one encounter? (in which Hizbul’s Burhan Wani was killed).

Everything was turned upside down in a few days time. The entire South Kashmir was out in the streets, throwing stones at us, attacking our posts. By October-November, I was getting messages that people say Azadi dur nahi hai (Azadi isn’t far away). Somebody was feeding this to people, telling them Azadi was around the corner.

Our posts were being regularly attacked. Stones were being pelted at our men. We had to bring the situation under control. We couldn’t afford all that. We needed to tell people Azadi isn’t happening. We had to establish the writ (of the state)”.

“(The Burhan Wani encounter) wasn’t the first such encounter in Kashmir”, he said. “I am still trying to understand where did all that anger come from. The youth have gotten themselves in Pakistan’s trap. They are being consistently incited to attack us”.

General Rawat said that he understands that “there isn’t a military solution to this issue”. “This is why we want politicians, political representatives to go into villages especially in South Kashmir to talk to people. But they are scared that they will be attacked”, he said. “It will happen once there is calm. And we are hopeful that people will soon realize that all this is futile and start thinking differently”.

The Army chief said he is “ready to suspend” military operations to avoid civilian casualties. “But who will guarantee that there won’t be fire at our men, at our vehicles? Who will guarantee that policemen, political workers, our men returning home on leave aren’t attacked, aren’t killed?’’ he asked.

“Our men who were unarmed, who had returned home on leave were killed…(consider the case of) Lieutenant Umar Fayaz. We killed his killers but we had to sacrifice four of our men to do so. Policemen are regularly attacked. Political workers are killed,’’ he said.

“Once a stone is thrown at us…once they fire at us.. then there is no way we will not respond and respond sternly. Those how want to fight us, we will fight them”.

“These youngsters, who have picked up guns aren’t a challenge for us. Terrorists aren’t a big challenge for us. We have been telling the people (civilian population) not to come to disrupt our operations, not to throw stones at us,’’ he said.

“Recently, we left an operation unfinished at one place. We withdrew our men so that the situation doesn’t turn bad. But as we left, our men came under fire from another house at a different place. A JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer) was injured. He is still in hospital”.

He referred to a new trend, that even those who want to surrender tell us please don’t say we have surrendered.

“They don’t want it look like surrender. They don’t even want us to say they were arrested. They want to make it look like they were injured and that’s why they were captured in the process of the encounter,” he said. “There is fear. Otherwise, how can you explain this?”

General Rawat said that, recently, he has tried to reach out but nobody has come forward to reciprocate. “When I spoke (on April 15), that very evening we were attacked. People have to reciprocate so that we can move forward,’’ he said.

“Young people are getting excited by IS flags. Do you know what that means? Do you want to Talibanise Kashmir? Do you want Kashmir to turn into such a society? Do you want to live in such a society?” he asked. “These young people do not understand the meaning of it all. Somebody is inciting these young people”.

Responding to his support for Major Leetul Gogoi’s move to strap a Kashmiri man to a jeep as a human shield last year on polling day in Budgam, General Rawat said: “That was the only option other than to open fire at a mob that was pelting stones”.

“He (the Army officer) could have opened fire and killed people. Instead, he used the best available option with him in those given circumstances”, General Rawat said. “Besides, we were investigating the issue when an FIR was filed against him. My officer felt that he is being abandoned. I can’t let my officer feel that”.

General Rawat said that people (in Kashmir) should understand that this turmoil is taking a toll on development.

“Tourism has been adversely affected. Houseboats and guesthouses are empty. What will those people eat if they don’t earn,’’ he said. “We will have a train connecting the Valley to the rest of the country soon, imagine how it will change the fortunes of people.

The apple grower in Sopore can send his apples anywhere in the country without any hassle. People have to recognize this development and be thankful. it has to be a two-way process”.

The British thought that the population of British India could not defeat their mighty army. They were as mistaken as General Rawat.
Man in Blue

Need to tell youth Azadi will never happen, you can’t fight us: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat

Gent Gurdwara – Gentbrugge: Raf Verhaeststraat and Braemstraat

Gent Gurdwara
25 March 2018

Replacement Granthi behind Guru Granth Sahib
Regular Granthi on holiday

Granthi Singh doing chaur seva

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

Raf Verhaeststraat and Braemstraat
25 March 2018

Raf Verhaeststraat

Raf Verhaeststraat

Raf Verhaeststraat, Braemstraat junction

Looks like a proper street again !

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

DNA India – GST on Langar: SGPC writes to Center again for exemption of taxes

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 10 May 2018. The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has revealed that they again wrote to the Centre, demanding exemption of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) being levied on ‘langar’ (community meal) service at Gurdwaras across the country, but received no reply.

“We’ve written letters to the government, but haven’t got any reply. We want the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be removed from the langar service,” Daljit Singh Bedi, Additional Secretary of SGPC, told ANI.

Earlier, Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the due to GST on ‘langar,’ the money used for feeding more people was going in taxes.

The SGPC spends around Rs 75 crore to purchase desi ghee, sugar and pulses, all used in the preparation of food served at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Citing this, the minister said the committee would have to bear a financial burden of Rs 10 crore on purchases, as they came under the 5 to 18 percent GST bracket.

Dawn – I was invited to talk on Partition. I was then told to talk on Independence as Partition ‘never happened’

Anam Zakaria

Op/Ed, 07 May 2018. The word ‘taqseem’ is commonly used by Partition survivors to refer to the events of 1947. A division, a split, a rupture that gave birth to Pakistan.

In English, the word ‘Partition’ is part of the established vocabulary that gives voice to one of the most significant events in recent history.

As an oral historian and researcher, I have interviewed hundreds of Partition survivors over the past several years. These words are uttered often in interviews, allowing people to share their memories, to in some way express what they had endured during the cataclysmic division.

And just as these words are present in all the interviews I have conducted, so too are the horror stories of Partition. Bodies chopped up, breasts cut, throats sliced, figures mutilated.

Regardless of the volume of work conducted on Partition, on both sides of the border, perhaps not even a fraction of the bloodshed and violence endured by Partition survivors has been captured in its essence.

Many of these survivors continue to live in the trauma of Partition, its journey ongoing, interjecting their dreams, their thoughts and their everyday lived experiences.

Yet 70 years after Partition, the Pakistani state has devised its unique way of referring to 1947; these official versions have their own ontology, removed from the context of the survivors.

The politics of recognition of certain events, or certain version of events, and the politics of denial of other episodes is at the heart of these policies.

I was recently invited to speak about Partition at a literary event. The students who were putting together the event had wanted me to share the Partition narratives I had collected, particularly focusing on the violence that the survivors had experienced.

I wasn’t surprised for it is often assumed that the only experiences of 1947 are the violent ones. It serves to justify separation, the creation of Pakistan that ‘liberated’ Muslims from the ferocious ‘infidel’ perpetrators they had left behind on the other side.

Narratives of inter-communal harmony, of nostalgia and longing of the pre-Partition past are seldom explored in the mainstream discourse.

However, days before I was scheduled to speak, there was a subtle change. I was no longer meant to talk about Partition; rather, I was supposed to limit myself to talk about ‘Independence’.

While 1947 indeed marks both Partition and Independence, one cannot talk about Independence without addressing Partition.

However, the organisers, I was told, believed that there was no Partition but only Independence that had taken place.

Moreover, they rejected the idea of discussing the bloodshed of 1947. Instead, they claimed there were no horrors. 1947 was Pakistan’s triumph, its victory. After all, if there was no Partition, how could there by any bloodshed?

Today, Partition has metamorphosed into Independence. And it is not Independence from the British but rather from ‘Hindu’ India.

The colonial past receives little attention in Pakistani textbooks and the Divide and Rule Policy is often sidelined. Using the Two Nation Theory to inculcate the idea that Hindus and Muslims were always separate nations, the two communities are shown as divisive throughout history.

A common phrase found in textbooks is, “Hindus can never be the true friends of Muslims.” 14th August then is a cause for celebration because it gave Pakistan independence from India.

In the collective memory of the nation, independence from the British holds little significance.

What the actual survivors feel, those who had fought tooth and nail to create Pakistan, those who had suffered the loss of family members and friends, of childhood, properties and their homeland, does not matter.

No taqseem, no Partition, no horrors took place. By depriving them of the language to express these sentiments, the state can erase any memories of longing, of remorse, of nostalgia. It can impose the official understandings of a tumultuous ‘victory’.

The use of selective language, of particular words and symbols, is a powerful way to mold memories and understandings. By imposing or depriving citizens of specific words, of the tool of language, states are able to construct identities, meanings and experiences that fit national projects.

Interestingly, while Pakistan insists on referring to the events of 1947 as Independence, when it comes to the 1971 war and the creation of Bangladesh, terms such as ‘The Fall of Dhaka’ or ‘Dismemberment’ are openly used.

This is in stark contrast to the use of the word ‘Liberation’ by the Bangladesh government. To call it anything else in Bangladesh can invite charges of anti-state behaviour, just as calling it Liberation or Independence in Pakistan would.

In India, it is unacceptable to refer to the part of Kashmir under India’s control as anything but Jammu and Kashmir. Titles like ‘Indian-administered Kashmir’ are deemed objectionable on the pretext that they challenge the notion that J&K is an integral part of the country, that they challenge India’s sovereignty over the territory.

The open and ongoing resistance against the Indian state by Kashmiris who indeed do challenge Indian rule and view India as an occupying force are dismissed.

By insisting that the territory is referred to as Jammu and Kashmir, the apparatus to express that occupation is snatched away.

Publishing houses and media outlets too are expected to abide by these ‘guidelines’ laid down by the state, undermining freedom of speech and denying Kashmiris freedom of expression.

In Myanmar too, there has been an active effort by the state to deprive the Rohingya community of their ethnic identity and their claim to the land by insisting that the Rohingya people should not be referred to by that name.

In 2016, it was reported that Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor of Myanmar, had advised that the term not be used. Foreign Ministry official, Kyaw Zay Ya, further reasoned that, “We won’t use the term Rohingya because Rohingya are not recognised as among the 135 official ethnic groups” in Myanmar.

By making the community nameless, the state can deny them the right to the land, the language to express their grievances, and the world recognition as a persecuted community, facing genocide.

The forced use of particular terms or the silencing of certain other terms like Partition, taqseem, Rohingya, Indian-administered or Occupied Kashmir successfully suppress indigenous voices, sentiments and aspirations.

States are able to rein in elements that may question state policies, histories and ongoing violence perpetuated in the name of security.

Through this politicisation of language, attempts are made to try to reconstruct national identities, sidelining the very citizens that often helped create and sustain these nation-states.

Did you, or anyone in your family, have to leave home due to Partition? Share your story with us at

Anam Zakaria is the author of Footprints of Partition: Narratives of Four Generations of Pakistanis and Indians and an upcoming book on Azad Jammu and Kashmir.