Co-Written By Dr. P.S. Sahni&Shobha Aggarwal
“Raina: Some soldiers, I know, are afraid of death
Captain Bluntschli: All of them, dear lady,
All of them, believe me.”
-‘Arms and the Man’, George Bernard Shaw, 1894
Two months have passed since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander, Burhan Wani on 8 July, 2016. The imposition of curfew over Kashmir continues amid temporary relaxations; mobile internet service is shut down; attendance in government offices is thin. Clashes between protesters and the police, para-military continue on a daily basis. The number of injured till date is reported to be about 12,000. Over nine hundred have had eye injuries due to rubber pellets fired by the security personnel; seventynine have been reportedly killed. The monumental figure of those injured includes mainly the protesters, by-standers as also the police/para-military personnel. Thus on an average about 200 people have been injured per day or about eight per hour. The number of injured over a period of sixty days is frightening and calls for a comparison with other conflict situations in the last hundred years where the Indian army/ British Indian Army was engaged with an uprising within the country or a conflict with a neighbouring country.
- Jallianwala Bagh massacre, 1919
During theJallianwala Bagh massacre on 13 April, 1919, the British Indian army unit under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired upon a crowd of non-violent protesters, along with Baisakhi pilgrims who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, India. The struggle for getting British rulers out of India was on. The troops numbering fifty fired on the unarmed protesters for ten minutes continuously. The bullets were directed towards the few open gates through which people were trying to flee. The British rulers admitted to twelve hundred wounded; the number of dead is believed to be between 379 (official figure) to well over 1000 by other sources.
A young Bhagat Singh had visited the Jallianwala Bagh massacre scene. This had left a deep impression in his mind. Later when Lala Lajpat Rai died in 1928 after being injured during a lathi charge by a police force led by James A. Scott on those protesting against the Simon Commission in Lahore, Bhagat Singh and his colleagues pledged not to let Scott go free. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged to death in Lahore jail for the killing of John A. Saunders, assistant superintendent of police (mistaken for James A. Scott).
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre was deeply engraved in Udham Singh’s mind. At the age of sixteen years he had defied the curfew and was wounded in the course of retrieving a body in the aftermath of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. In 1940 Udham Singh was charged with the murder of Sir Michael O’Dwyer, the former Lt. Governor of Punjab who had approved of the action of Brigadier General R.E.H. Dyer at Jallianwala Bagh. He was hanged on 31st July, 1940.
Ironically Burhan Wani,as per media reports, had seen his brother Khalid Muzaffar being tortured at the hands of armed forces when the two were returning home during the 2010 protests in Kashmir which left more than hundred people dead. Wani reportedly vowed to take revenge.
In the above three situations it was the excesses of the security forces – British or Indian – which forced people to take up arms; a lesson for governments to humanize its policies.
- First Kashmir War, 1947
The Indo-Pakistan war of 1947 (first Kashmir war) was fought between the newly independent nations of India and Pakistan over the princely state of Jammu and Kashmirand lasted for over one year and two months. The conflict started when Pashtun tribal forces and later Indian and Pakistani army regulars entered the state. On 1.1.1949 a formal ceasefire was declared. The number of killed was reported to be 1500 and 6000 respectively for India and Pakistan. While the number of wounded was reported to be 3500 for India and 14000 for Pakistan.
- Sino-Indian War, 1962
The Sino-Indian war fought between India and China lasted from 20 October to 21 November 1962 i.e. about a month resulting in Chinese victory with the forward Indian posts and patrols removed from Aksai Chin. While 1383 Indians were reported to be killed and 1047 wounded, the number of Chinese killed were 722 and 1697 wounded. The Indian army had to retreat back to Tejpur, a district in Assam. It was a humiliating act of the armed forces as the Chinese had penetrated close to the outskirts of Tejpur. The local people were left to fend for themselves. Later the Chinese army retreated on its own. The Indian Government ordered an independent report to be prepared on the war.
An Australian journalist, Neville Maxwell in an interview with the Times of India (2 April, 2014) opined that it wasn’t China, but Nehru who declared 1962 war:
“The report was an internal Indian Army enquiry into its rout in the 1962 war with China — Maxwell was the New Delhi correspondent for The Times, London, at the time — but in the 51 years since the report was written up by Lt Gen Henderson Brooks and Brig PS Bhagat, successive Indian governments have refused to make it public. Only two copies of the report were thought to be in existence, although there was never any doubt that Maxwell had had access to the report for his 1970 book India’s China War quoted extensively from it…
If the Henderson Brooks Report is read closely in India (and it’s not easy reading!) people will see that political favouritism put the Army under incompetent leadership which blindly followed the Nehru government’s provocative policy.”
Till date the Government of India has not made the Henderson report public.
- Mizo National Front uprising, 1966
In March 1966 the Mizo National Front (MNF) launched an uprising and revolt against the Government of India by declaring independence on 1 March, 1966. Government offices and posts of security forces faced a coordinated attack in various parts of the Mizo district (as it then was) in Assam. The Government suppressed the rebellion with the Indian Air Force carrying out air strikes in Aizawl; a rare instance of India carrying out air strikes in its own civilian territory; this was denied by the then Prime Minister. The Government of India recaptured by 25 March, 1966 all the places seized by the MNF. Insurgency continued for twenty years more till 1986. While the air strikes took place during Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s regime, the Mizoram Accord between Government of India and MNF was signed in 1986 when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister of India. While 59 were killed and 126 wounded on the Indian side; the number of Mizos killed were 95 and another 35 wounded.
- Sri Lankan civil war& Indian intervention, 1987-89
The Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war started on 29 July, 1987; the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) started withdrawing in 1989 with the withdrawal being completed in 1990. The IPKF intervened to end the civil war between militant Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists, principally the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and the Sri Lankan military.
During 1983 and 1984 the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of the Indian Government got involved in training the militant Tamil group, as some authoritative sources maintain. It is public knowledge that LTTE camps operated from Tamil Nadu. Ironically the same LTTE killed 1138 IPKF personnel and wounded another 2762; also killing 28 Sri Lankan Military personnel and wounding 578. The figures of LTTE killed and injured are not known.
- Operation Pawan, 1987: A bitter chapter in Indian Military history
Operation Pawan was undertaken by IPKF to take control of Jaffna in late 1987. It took three weeks for the IPKF to take control of Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE. 40 IPKF personnel were killed and 700 wounded, whereas 200 LTTE personnel were killed. The number of LTTE personnel wounded is not known. The third party – Sri Lankan army – was not in the picture; so its number killed/wounded is not available.
The LTTE had received support from politicians in Tamil Naduand wanted a separate Tamil Eelam in north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil people. Ironically LTTE was responsible for assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India in 1991. The Supreme Court of India held the LTTE alone responsible for the assassination.
- Kargil War, 1999: India & Pakistan at the brink of a nuclear war
The Kargil war took place from 3rdMay to 26thJuly 1999. It resulted in the killing of 527 Indians and 1363 wounded. While the corresponding Pakistani figures are 357-453 killed and 665 plus wounded. At the end of the war India regained possession of Kargil district, Jammu & Kashmir.
The table below summarizes the number of killed and injured during the aforementioned internal uprisings and wars:
|Injured||Dead||Time period||Approx. Injuries per day|
|1200 (to 1500)||379 – 1000||10 minutes in a single day||1200 to 1500|
|2.||First Kashmir War, 1947||17500||7500||438 days||40|
|3.||Sino-Indian War, 1962||2744||2105||32 days||85|
|4.||Mizo National Front Uprising, 1966||161||154||24 days||7|
|5.||Sri Lankan Civil War||–||–||29 July 1987 to 1989||–|
|6.||Operation Pawan||–||240||21 days||–|
|7.||Kargil war||2028||884-980||85 days||24|
|8.||Kashmir Uprising, 2016||12,000||79||60 days||200|
Barring the JallianwalaBagh massacre where up to 1500 people got injured in one single day, the present uprising in Kashmir has seen the maximum number of injured people per day among the aforementioned conflicts where data is available!
Even the mainstream print media in India is now forced to refer to the brutalization produced by the war in Kashmir. When a formal war declaration is made then international laws, agencies like U.N. and International Red Cross Society come into play. Simple things like access to medical care of those injured are assured. The world community gets a sense of the actual happenings. The people of India, Kashmir and the world have a right to know the ground reality in Kashmir.
(The numbers of injured and dead in the aforementioned internal uprisings and wars have beenculled from various sources viz official, independent, and UPPSALA Conflict Data Program (UCDP), Sweden. The figures of LTTE killed and injured during 1987-89 are not known. Again, the number of LTTE personnel wounded in Operation Pawan is not known.)
[The authors are members of PIL Watch Group and can be contacted at: email@example.com]