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Karat Attacks Army Chief Over Handling of Kashmir Protests, BJP Returns Fire

Former CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat's criticism of Army Chief General Bipin Rawat over the handling of Kashmir protests has snowballed into a controversy with the BJP accusing him of insulting the armed forces.

News18.com

Updated:June 6, 2017, 4:08 PM IST
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Karat Attacks Army Chief Over Handling of Kashmir Protests, BJP Returns Fire
File photo of CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat. (PTI)
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Former CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat's criticism of Army Chief General Bipin Rawat over the handling of Kashmir protests has snowballed into a controversy with the BJP accusing him of insulting the armed forces.

Karat, in a piece written in the party organ 'People's Democracy', said General Rawat was reflecting the views of the Narendra Modi government, which according to him was "using force to suppress the people of Kashmir who are voicing their political protest."

The Marxist veteran also took objection to Rawat's recent interview in which the chief had suggested it would have been easier for the armed forces if the protesters were firing weapons instead of throwing stones.

Rawat had said: "In fact, I wish these people instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then I would have been happy. Then I could do what I (want to do)."

Karat said the statement was a needless provocation and was "unbecoming of a senior Army officer."

"Gen. Rawat makes no distinction between young protestors throwing stones and armed militants. He had, on an earlier occasion, warned that the Army would treat all those who do not support Army operations or obstruct them during encounters as “overground workers of terrorists," Karat said in the piece written last week.

The senior CPI(M) leader also criticised General Rawat for giving a commendation to Major Leetul Gogoi who had tied a civilian in front of his jeep as a human shield.

While Karat argued these actions will damage the Army, the BJP hit out saying the CPI(M) was becoming "a mouthpiece of Pakistan".

"The opposition party has gone to the extent of criticising our own army," BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao said.

The CPI(M), however, continued to defend Karat's stand saying any solution to Kashmir has to be a political one.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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