In a TV interview, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad, has claimed that Army operations kill more civilians than terrorists in Kashmir. “They (forces) take action against four terrorists and kill 20 civilians. Their action is more against civilians than terrorists. For instance, they killed 13 civilians in Pulwama and just one terrorist,” Azad was quoted as saying.
Azad also claimed that the NDA government was planning a massacre in Kashmir. “Saying that it will be an all-out operation, clearly shows that they plan to do a massacre,” he said, according to News18. Attacking Prime Minister Modi, he said, “The major reason behind the condition of Kashmir is that from the day PM Modi came to power, he has always talked about action. It seems he always wants to use the gun.”
However, data indicates that Azad’s statement has little basis in reality. According to MHA data, 17 civilians were killed in 2015 compared to 108 terrorists, 15 civilians were killed in 2016 compared to 150 terrorists and in 2017, 40 civilians were killed and 213 terrorists were eliminated. Thus far in 2018, it is being reported that 38 civilians lost their lives while 95 terrorists were put to death. It appears that Ghulam Nabi Azad, like others before, is tarnishing the reputation of the Indian Army for petty politics.
It is also intriguing that Azad would term operations against terrorists as a “massacre” squarely toeing the Pakistan line of argument.
The Indian National Congress has shared a tumultuous relationship with the Indian Army in recent times. Congress’ Sandeep Dikshit had dubbed the surgical strikes carried out by the Army as mere ‘drama’. Others had demanded proof of the strikes itself. During the Doklam standoff as well, the Congress party had some difficulty believing the government and Army’s version of events. And when Major Gogoi tied a Kashmiri stone-pelter to his jeep to ensure the safety of soldiers, a Congress leader had demanded that he be punished for performing his duty.