As India celebrates her 70th year of independence, there are homes across the country which will be grieving the loss of their brave sons who have made the supreme sacrifice in order to ensure that their fellow citizens get the opportunity to celebrate their independence with their heads held high.
In the week preceding the Independence Day, two brave Indian soldiers lost their lives fighting terrorists at Shopian, Kashmir on 11/12 August. The first fallen brave heart, Sepoy Ilayaraja P, was a 25 year old married soldier from Tamil Nadu; his brave colleague was Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman also at the peak of his life at 25 years and belonging to Maharashtra.
The news of this ultimate heroism came when the army was in the process of moving the mortal remains of Naib Subedar Jagram SinghTomar who had earlier lost his life to unprovoked firing by Pakistan on an Indian post at the Krishna Ghati sector, along the Line of Control (LOC) in the Poonch District of Jammu and Kashmir. Naib Subedar Jagram SinghTomar, aged 42 and a family man belonged to Morena District in Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier, on 08, August, Sepoy Pawan Singh Sugra was also killed in perfidious cross LOC firing by Pakistan also in the Krishna Ghati sector. Sepoy Pawan Singh Sugra, age 21, was a resident of District Pithoragarh in Uttrakhand.
Within this year the fatal casualty toll absorbed by our security forces in Jammu and Kashmir is nearing the 50 mark! By making this supreme sacrifice the brave and fearless soldiers have ensured the safety and security of their fellow citizens of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, especially so the Kashmir Valley. They have died to preserve the very sovereignty and integrity that the nation is celebrating with great gusto.
One is reminded of the epitaph at the Kohima war memorial in Nagaland which says, “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.” The war memorial commemorates soldiers of the British Empire who died fighting the Japanese in the Second World War in the Burma Theatre.
During the current year our brave security forces have executed relentless operations along the LOC and International Border (IB), replete with massive fire assaults with Artillery, Missiles and proactive domination. This has resulted in a drastic reduction in infiltration and has put Pakistan on the back foot.
Precise and persistent counter-terrorist operations in the hinterland during the year have led to a massive 130 plus killing of terrorists. The success has is giving confidence to the nation that its brave army along with other paramilitary and police forces will rid the Kashmir Valley of the scourge of terrorism before this year ends.
It becomes apparent from the foregoing that the sacrifice of our brave soldiers was not in vain and that the nation is safe in the hands of its armed forces.
The continued thrust of infiltration and terrorist initiated violence in the Kashmir Valley is an indication that the objective of the enemy to suppress and subjugate the region has not waned one bit. His problem is that he no longer has the means to do so; he is, however, leaving no stone unturned to reinvent the same.
Success is not coming his way because the Indian soldiers remain ever willing to protect their fellow citizens in Kashmir even at the cost of their own lives, as is amply proved by the bravery of soldiers like Sepoy Ilayaraja P and Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman.
It is very sad to note that, instead of understanding and appreciating the tremendous role that Indian soldiers coming from all corners of the country are playing to ensure the security of Jammu and Kashmir, there are some who denigrate the sacrifice.
Public frenzy is being engineered to dilute the counter-terrorist operations and allow the terrorists to flee. There is an attempt by errant, anti-national forces to bring down the elected government by the spread of misinformation and false propaganda. This attempt is vigorously aided and abetted by Pakistan.
It is time for the Kashmir people to stand up and be counted. They have to admit that the likes of Burhan Wani who are falling like nine pins in front of the courage and bravery of the security forces had picked up the gun against their own people at the behest of an evil enemy like Pakistan. They are responsible for the death of many innocents and have caused great pain and suffering among his Kashmiri brethren. Their extermination is necessary for peace to prevail in their beautiful land. They, therefore, need to be eternally grateful to the security forces for their sterling work.
The people of Kashmir should never forget the atrocities and indignities that were heaped upon them by foreign terrorists infiltrated by Pakistan. They should not let the memory of the dark nights when these foreign terrorists would come knocking at their doors to demand first food and then the women of the house fade away.
It should never be forgotten that it was the Indian Army which, with the support of the Kashmiri’s themselves, neutralised the cult of terrorism.
Security forces do not have any political agenda; they would be very glad to go back to the barracks and enjoy the beauty of the valley. They would love to come to Kashmir on a peace posting rather than risk their lives every minute that they are there. They cannot do so because the enemy is not relenting from casting an evil eye of the region and the people.
Those laying down their lives for the safety and security of their fellow citizens in Kashmir will not be sidelined in favour of petty terrorists. The likes of Burhan Wani will not be allowed to dominate the destiny of the region. Pakistan will not be allowed to exploit internal weaknesses and contradictions and dominate the political narrative. This is the resolve that the people of Jammu and Kashmir need to take on the 70th Independence Day of the country.
(Jaibans Singh is a reputed columnist, author and commentator)