Seminar Civil Military Relationship – A Critique


by RS Jassal
Jan Seven Two Zero Eleven saw a good grappling of the issue by resource persons and the discussants. It was in response to a joint effort by the Military and Manipur University authorities. The subject was interesting but failed clear cut in nailing the inherent causatives of the issues whether the relationship discussed was that of between civil population and Military or Military & the civil administration. UGs who are   pegged to the latter and  the main contributing force to the conflicting situation appeared nowhere.  How much orchestrated misinformation penetrated into common man mind by frontal organization which keeps their minds in bind should have drawn attention of the  subscribers of  the papers for better understanding of the situation.

One of the resource person devoted more time on the type of present governance hence asked for change in the electoral system. Which is the force affecting to ignore the electoral diktats of ECI (which in case of Manipur is UGs and most of the politicians, was not touched upon. What type of reforms are to be recommended against backdrop of ‘voters accepting money’ and “UG coercing candidates and voters” contesters “openly offering money and favours” wherever possible was  not taken into account. And if at all remedials are taken too, how is it going to affect civil military relationship, is a matter of individual judgment & can’t be objective. If it is between civil administration and the Military, I feel, there cannot be better synergy  obtaining  as on today   in current situation in light of UGs having been stirred  from their  citadels and their safe abodes  made unsafe by  combined operations of strategic group  i.e., Manipur Govt. & Military under over all control of MHA.

One speaker put that Merger was the main cause of bitter relationship so merger must be debated and settled first. Whereas fact remains if Manipur stands stronger and unbreakable today it is only because of Merger. If Merger is reversed by plebiscite or otherwise, Manipur will fragment into four to five segments as plebiscite cannot be only for one community toeing the line of one particular UG group  .  It is loud and clear Nagas will  be on their  own way, Hmars with Sawkardai  Kolasib-Vairangte portions of Mizoram and  South Cachar & NC Hills  plus other parts from Tripura and Kukis’ opting for own living abodes as territories will be free to choose. You cannot  put one set of rule for contesting Merger call &  other for  maintaining validity of Merger. In this case what prevents Moslems opting to look to erstwhile  Arakanese Sultanate influenced Karimganj(ees) and well anchored Islamic leadership  of lower Assam which are openly  frequented by Bangladeshis and ISI foragers interest  operatives. Why Military has been put into operation in Manipur is to assist civil administration on the approval of the cabinet secretariat, the highest decision making body of the Central Government, to  create conducive conditions for good governance by  reinforcing  bonds between people & the administration by  removing fear psychosis created by Militant activities. Well awareness of common man to enable him make  his own judgment  and there lies the careful treading on a rope of slender bound to swing  by ‘intellectuals’ who matter can serve a good purpose neutralize  blame slaps on SFs for everything – even the good they do.

One speaker termed MCA projects of the SF’s as taking over the job of civil   administration hence  cautioning , overlooking the very fact what was before. Same speaker also contradicted himself, saying it was sad performance of the socio- economic sector responsibilities of the state for insurgency to take roots. Indian democracy is the most liberal democracy in the world so far as its repeated shock absorbance capacities are concerned. Otherwise how one section of the society can resort to months together in economic blockades etc., against other society within same state. Manipur is not a failed state like Iraq & Afghanistan. Here it is made to look like that. The Naga are on Peace/Ceasefire agreement, the Kuki’s are under SoO obligation, valley insurgent groups do not have much of interference capacity in the Hills even then the EAC, SDO & ADC’s in Hills are still not functioning in situ.  Wherever GOC/IGAR visits interiors in Hills, people ask for  opening new SF post.

There is no civil  police other than at District headquarters or  in good number only at trade exit points so relationship of civil population and the  Military  who are visibly semblance of the government stands on a natural upbeat  under this peculiar scenario  since  Army catapulted to act with  compassion and restraints  compared  to two  decades back. Present cannot be seen without viewing past. Nobody touched what was in the past at least three decades back.

The seminar was held in the University campus where  Military is  stationed atop  for campus security & civil  police guards the main  entry to keep security  environs  in  place and , it is found  difficult  by the authorities  to function without them yet speaker devoted most of the efforts in terming AFSPA as draconian  law and for immediate repeal . How can Military perform duties within  its own civil population without legal safeguards  like CrPC is given to   civil police is ignored.
Yes, as Maj Gen. Hooda, VSM **  the GOC said “ HR violation under AFSPA did occur in a few cases which have been  taken note of  & being dealt by Military  authorities” . “Further precautions have been taken and things are under control”. In fine seminar  was extremely good so far opening of minds was concerned. Military  also constitutes of all Indians on its roll  from other ranks  to – JCO’s to Officers and Manipur  is proportionately  the largest  contributor in that. A vigil has to be maintained against black sheep even amongst armed forces but more  so on the evil mongers among the civil frontal  organizations who manifest their  presence through them  in various forms. If civil  population remains civilized in its broadest connotations, supply lines to evil mongers can be plugged & peace route cleared of foliage. Meaningful Ugs leadership  can thus be brought to negotiation by  enlightened  public leadership  through tripartite bondage between people, civil administra
tion and the SFs.

I do not hesitate in congratulating both MU and the  Military  authorities to have arranged such  a wonderful  event. Author  also recommends  participation of men from uniform if not equal in  number at least one speaker per session . Well intented  seminar with  well meaning participants can  address issues & integrate disillusioned communities to   good governance & misgivings  by  misinformation connected with Security Forces can be cleared. This seminar  has  apparently sets the business of problem admission; that problem does exist. It will definitely assist in defining it to  with subsequent efforts by Military and other forces too say Police and Para Military.  Unit / a battalion is the main stay of the Armed forces who have pride in the unit Motto as ‘Ijjat of the Paltan’ which serves as the clarion call for unit to  go beyond  the call of duty and win battles. However when this ijjat story gets applied to cover dishonorable acts, accountability diminishes and rogues get away and move up the ladder to embarrass the whole organization later, so SFs have to take it with a pinch of salt to weed out such elements at first opportunity presented by such rogues.

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  1. My point regarding the gurkha’s act was that UK court follows the act of cruelness even in the war zone. Although many UK citizens & army officers sympathize (anti taliban feeling) the act gurkha, he was called back and tried. All politicians were univocal which accepting that the act was shambolic. Court has the right to decide on the act of barbarism even in war zone. Manipur is not even a war zone. State should be able to monitor the act of HR violence even if they had requested central forces to assist the state forces in counter insurgency operations.
    I can never agree with the draconian clauses of any such act. India, biggest democracy in the world, understand this really well. But, unfortunately, the sympathy, humanity and every definition of civilized treatments and civilize way of tackling unwanted events are meant for people residing in places where their vote play important role in forming government. Not for places like NE states. Take the example of TADA 1985. It was amended many times, almost every alternate years since it’s inception. Finally, it was lapsed with the reason that it is inhuman. Where this sanity gone from the politicians even after Reddy commission 2005? No, they don’t loss it, simply we don’t have the number to attract their sanity. Gujarat government comes up strong idea of anti terrorism act. But, central government advised the honorable president of India not to give the clearance since the clauses are too inhuman.
    Armymen cannot respect the state government of Manipur in fact NE states. Sometimes, they fail to understand that here also, the leaders are elected leaders of Indian citizens. Time to time, insult to even elected members happens in Manipur. Once an army captain wearing his shorts stop the official vehicle of a Cabinet minister of Manipur and frisk it A senior army try to justify that this is possible because of counter insurgency problem. Unfortunately, manipur politicians are too weak to debate those insults and discuss it MHA. See at the political scenarios of Karnataka now. His highness Governor himself recommend prosecution of current chief minister Yedurappa. Does delhi dare to take action? No. Because, it may hurt the sentiment of the people of karnataka. They have enough numbers.
    If there is the number, there is no delaying in amending the law. Else, another 10 Reddy commissions may not be sufficient. Army general will consider priority and convenience of his armymen before human rights of Manipur. Naval chief won’t suggest use of fighter helicopters in naxal hit areas because it is inhuman. Using army is not advisable against naxalites because they are Indians.

    Numbers rules.
    Democracy, the most beautiful form of governance, is beautiful only when you can contribute the number.

  2. You seem to be agreeing with at least AF(SP)A reform. I think the name has become so ugly repeal would make more sense and then incorporate any reasonable clauses into other anti-terrorist legislation as suggested by the Jeevan Reddy Commission way back in 2005. Since then several other Indian jurisprudential commissions have made similar recommendations. Before Xmas the Indian Cabinet leaked via the internet that it would be forcing through change despite army objections whereupon General Singh began a vociferous press campaign against any change.

    This would never happen in the West. Generals do not determine policy they implement the policy of politicians no matter how stupid they may think the politicians are.

    As for the Gurka, chopping off the heads after battle to prove kills may not sound barbaric to a Manipuri and Gurkhas are native Nepalis. There was a time US Soldiers scalped the hair from Native American Indians to proove kills. But this would be regarded as barbaric today. I regret I have no idea why you think the Gurkha would stand any chance of success in a British Civil Court. The army should have settled out of court. Civil Courts have the right only to provide financial compensation and if the facts are as you have stated them no British Citizen brought up in the UK would find for the soldier. It is a barbaric act that disgraces the service. I am surprised he wasn’t already court martialled. I am a little taken aback that you seem to think his actions were reasonable or justified in the modern world. That I find more than a little disturbing.

    But as you seem to be arguing for change to AF(SP)A then that is a better direction and I support that view.

  3. AFSPA, may be needed for Army to function properly in iinsurgent hit state like Manipur. I agree it’s like CrPc for police. However, some of the clauses are really draconian and HR violation is matter of accident waiting to happen. It should at least be reformed.

    Where on the earth has gone those law experts of India who need to look into farming some rules which will protect the interest of Army as well as civillians? Does Army need to act like a colonizer to the people of Manipur?

    This is where India fail to understand the voice of Minority people who are not a part of vote bank. People will alienat from the goverment.

    I came across a case regarding Gurkha armyman serving for UK in frontline Afghanisthan. He was told by his senior officers to bring evidence of his kills in the war field. So, after a fierce gunbattle, three talibans were killed. In the hit of the moment, the brave gurkha cut off the heads of those three talibans and bring it as the evidence of victory. His act of bravery was viewed as the ultimate act of barbary and non human. His case is being tried in civil court of UK. This case was from a war zone.

    My point is why can’t police or state authority should not be allowed to investigate the case of HR violation against those erring army officers and jawans? The case of HR violation will be anyway committed by those Army who do not respect the strict millitary rule. Why should Army delay the justice by not allowing them to be tried?

    I can understand the feeling of Mr. Jassal as a retired Army officer. I take pleassure reading his written articles. Most of them are out of his vast experience gained while serving the NE places. Even his viewpoints are much wider than many so called scholars of Manipur whose vion are limited to one community or region.

    But, I think, Mr. Jassal can reasses the changing trends of current generation. Laws and rules need to be amended to make it more suitable to a specific point of time. AFSPA, anyway, we can do without those draconian clauses. This law is in fact derivative of draconian rules framed by the then British Indian Goverment to nail down Bhagat Singh et al.

  4. One thing for clear Mr Jassal That you can apply all the principles and rules to other provinces of except Kangleipak.Why!You know partially!And you need to read thoroughly the history of Kangleipak from the beginning.Easily you will come to also why Indian force have so far able to subdue other provinces like Mizoram,nangaland,Anurachal,maghalaya…etc?I dont want demean the mentioned regions but to be clear they were just meant to be conglomerated as their internal mechanism is base mostly on tribalism and non-administered or some have but not sufficient to call themselve as State or nation!Now,crux of my point is Kangleipak and its people will never be able to forget the past which will ever be lingering and every other or ever increase intense blood will rise to lay sacrifice for the lost identity!You will never be able to answer all the questions.You need to know that!Your points of justification on this regards were just another sheer intimidation when large populace seeking for plebiscites.Indian govt doesnt need to bother much beyond than this as this domain must remain purely a household issue!I We consider your jusitfication as taking away our rights and mere veering toward confusion out of nothing!Simple question remained unaswered till date.Why you people think we should be with India!? Seem like your writing here will engenders more of true Kanglei sons and daughter for true challenges in coming days ahead.

  5. It is sad that a retired officer who served his country cannot accept the requirements of international law, justice and decency. AF(SP)A repeal was most recently (Friday Last) requested by the visiting UN Special Raporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders HE Margaret Sekaggya. There are lots of soldiers in Imphal. It is a highly militarized city even for South Asia.

    If a soldier commits rape or murder then he should at the very least be investigated by the police and if there is a case to present then he should be brought to trial. It is time for the Indian Military to conform to normal standards of justice and decency. Some of the more stupid comments in retort I will respond to now. What about Insurgents. The UGs have no immunity under the law, neither do I, neither do retired soldiers like Mr Jassal.

    The Indian State has contrary to the Malta Protocols imprisoned Irom Sharmila Chanu for over ten years in response to her satyagraha whose sole aim is to bring the Indian Army and Paramilitaries under the same law as all other Indian Citizens while in India. If they commit rape or murder they should not need immunity from investigation or prosecution by the police and judiciary.

    Manipur University is not the least respected in the World It’s ranking is in the low 8,000s. There are at least a thousand more militarized less respected Universities in the world no doubt in Korea and Zimbabwe and other Banana republics. The Question is does Manipur and India wish to be linked with Banana republics that have no respect for the law, that allows its security official to commit rape and murder against its own people with impunity or do they wish to join the rest of the human race in our way of progress.

    I hope Manipur chooses the latter. I hope one day there are no soldiers stationed in Manipur University, like Oxford Cambridge Harvard and Princeton, just students.


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