Editorial : Multi-craft strategy : requisite for counter terrorism

On the 13th day of the battle of kurukshetra, Kauravas to eliminate the Pandavas executed a plan to kill them by trapping them in the Chakravyooha. Unfortunately Arjuna and Krishna who knew how to break the chakravyooha were dragged by the Kaurava army on another front and the Pandavas were left with no choice but to attempt to use the young and brave Abhimanyu, who had the knowledge on how to break into the formation but none whatsoever regarding how to break out of it.

To make sure that Abhimanyu did not get trapped in this endeavour, the remaining Pandava brothers decided that they and their allies would also break into the formation along with Abhimanyu and assist the boy in breaking out of it. Using his knowledge of the Chakravyoovha, Abhimanyu successfully broke into the formation. The Pandava brothers and allies attempted to follow him inside the formation, but they were effectively cut off by Jayadratha, the Sindhu king and ally of Kauravas .

Abhimanyu commanded his charioteer to lead his chariot towards Drona (the arms and artillery teacher to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas). The charioteer, thinking it was not wise to do so, raised objections and requested the young warrior to take time to think about it before he began the battle. He pointed out that Abhimanyu had grown up amidst great love and comforts and he was not a master of the battle arts as Drona was but to no avail.

With no great joy in his mind, the charioteer took his master forward and Abhimanyu broke into the Chkravyooha . In a mighty battle that followed, he slaughtered ordinary enemy warriors and mighty heroes alike. Abhimanyu fought valiantly, single-handedly slaying several warriors who came in his way including Duryodhana’s son Laxman. He also wounded Karna and made him flee. Upon witnessing the death of his beloved son, Duryodhana was incensed and ordered the entire Kaurava force to attack Abhimanyu. Continually frustrated in attempts to pierce Abhimanyu’s armor, Karna on Dronacharya’s advice shattered Abhimanyu’s bow by firing arrows from behind him.

His chariot broke shortly after, the charioteer and horses were killed ,which was a violation of the rules already laid down for the battle, and all his weapons were laid to waste. He attempted then to fight off the bow wielding warriors sitting on horses and elephants with a sword and using a chariot wheel as a shield. It is said that he was killed by Karna by stabbing him with his sword from the back which was another violation of the rules of conduct of the Mahabharata war. It is this act of Karna which Krishna narrated to Arjuna when Karna had requested Arjuna to stand by while he removed the wheels of his chariot which was stuck in mud during the battle. And shortly after this Arjuna beheaded Karna.

It is said that it is Abhimanyu’s death that marked the end of adherence to the rules of war.

Drawing the analogy of the narrative with the killing of six policemen,including station house officer Feroz Ahmad Dar , when a large group of armed militants belonging to Laskar-e-toiba ambushed the vehicle they were travelling in near Thajiwar area of Achabal, Anantnag late on Friday afternoon.

“A grenade was hurled first. All travelling in the vehicle faced indiscriminate firing from all sides. most of them died on the spot,” said a police official.

The similarities are starking. Abhimanyu was killed by his own cousins ,uncles and elders so were these bravehearts. They were inadequately trained to face the foe plus missed the support required to defeat them. Chakravyooh was laid down for both and the execution was done without any consideration granted to ethics of warfare.But the larger question remains -how many more Abhimanyu’s would be sacrificed?

The situation without any doubt is complex but the evolution of these complexities ought to have a root cause.We may have discussed,debated and contemplated many a times in various forums including the legislative assemblies or the Parliament but have we been able to identify the root cause of the turmoils common citizens of this great nation are subjected to . Without the analysis of root causes how are we supposed to find a solution.

The authorities, if asked, respond with theories and strategies which are subjective. Confusion prevails and wannabe politicians thrive. Terror and its subsidiaries have organized itself as an industry with high returns on no investment and let us not ignore the fact there is a quantum of glamour to it as well. Separatists appear to be united and the mainstream parties divided ,both run and governed by ulterior motives beautified by agendas ,ideologies and manifestos, and both are equally responsible.

Understandable that public opinion is of utmost importance in a Democracy. One of the greatest impediments in counter-terrorism is by and large the flow of information through media and social media. The strategies are discussed and debated on these channels. And since there is a cut-throat competition between the media channels, the compulsion of being different forces the advent of gloss to make the news worthy of garnering to larger audience.

Hence, perceptions are created which not only add to the confusion but are more than often used for radicalisation and creating wedge amongst various groups of the society- which is one of the objectives of terrorism. Terrorists since time immemorial believe that disturbance and unrest would help them to achieve their objectives and now use of technology is helping them to project themselves as victim, though security forces too are using the technology to their advantage.

The need of the hour is to reorganize the police force- the primary instrument of the state which comes into contact with terrorists. And they being well equipped and properly trained should be a priority and also are they sufficiently compensated, rewarded, economically as well and whether their families covered by social security schemes need to be revisited immediately. Traditionally police have been trained to control riots, investigate and deal with other law and order situations, which do not need massive use of force, but the equations have changed on one side they have to respond to stone pelting and on other side they have to face the hard core foreign trained militants having access to sophisticated weaponary and equipments.

But then the issue is if the police is accustomed to the use of fire power would they revert back to its original doctrine( use of minimum force) once normalcy is restored and would the government be able to restrict them from use of excess force and thereby the human right violation.

Hence the need of advance training as they should be trained enough to know how and when to use the force. Since the policemen are from areas which are militancy affected and the religious angle to the entire issue training needs to be specialized and sophisticated.

Terrorism is being fought across the world and various police forces are trained to specialise in use of fire arms and respond to terror attacks .The rules of engagement  are defined and response times are monitored .The learnings , processes and training should be taken into consideration in the fight against terror by the police.They should be adapted to suit our police forces but not that much that they loose the relevance.

Multi-craft strategy which includes police, judicial and political reforms have to be implemented to save modern day Abhimanyus’ from being massacred.

2 Comments

  1. Noor ul Habib

    No doubt you have given a lot of careful thought to the topic and reached some practical conclusions.
    Kindly consider the factor that the various agencies of Government of Jammu and Kashmir (law and order is a state subject, though Kashmir is unique by way of armed militancy : but Government of Jammu and Kashmir has to take charge some day) backed by Government of India seem to be working pretty independent of each other. Last year there were reports in media that post the militant Burhaan Wani’s death the scene got mismanaged by rivalry between senior police officers. If that is true, though nobody can check either way, than one big factor would be to let Government of Jammu and Kashmir handle things with out any interference so that they cannot keep blaming the Central Government for things gone wrong. We know that in all probability no State Government in Jammu and Kashmir shall get a free hand, that too while they can do something positive.

    The motives of elected political parties too remain questionable.

    So is there some integrated authority that can execute some policy, in favour of peaceful settlement of all issues faced by the people of entire Jammu and Kashmir.

    At present there is a definite air of vengeance on each side of the divide in Kashmir : this time the divide between Valley and Jammu and to some extent Ladakh too is growing.

    There seem to be too many invisible players in every region, regarding the main issues and on each side. Never before did it seem so acutely that ‘someone invisible is deciding on either side of divides’. This seems to be deliberately encouraged by multiple parties, ethically good ones or bad ones (considering the benchmark of ‘ethically good’ to be whether a party/agency is truly seeking to bring stable peace where population of all regions of Jammu and Kashmir feel they could live in harmony and the nations who are involved too feel respected enough to move on with their own nation building goals).

  2. Rakesh Pandita

    Very well said … The police is uniquely placed in Kashmir and should not be viewed from the general prism .. they are fighting a two way battle one as a professional solider who is fighting a gurella war for which he is not trained and hence all the time at the receiving end and on the second font it is his society that has elevated the terrorists to Gazi staus I,e holy warriors and hence anyone going against them is going against Islam ..and there has never been any attempt to create a counter narrative to this thought process so that the man on the front is not in any dalima whether to go all out for it or to turn a blind eye and serve the Allah .
    The police in valley have to be viewed differently and their training and psychological cushioning has to be worked on ..
    There are numerous reports on police reforms gathering dust and no one is talking about it ..
    The beat system that had served well in earlier years and were main source of intelligence gathering at the mohalla level ,has been discarded and there seems no plan in place to replace and instill​ confidence in the police force..
    The big question , without reforms are we not making the police an easy target for well tarined , motivated and better equipped terrorists? Are they being used as pawns on the political chess board of Kashmir or there is a political as well as social backing to them… Time to support our police force, they are the only ones who can restore some semblance of peace in Kashmir… Salute and prayers for the police personnel who laid down their lives in the line of their duty

Leave a Reply