By Satyam Singh
As Shirley MacLaine pens down “Fear make stranger of people who would be friends “. Here she is referring to the fear which can be an outcome of anything.
One can easily identify that the politics of the world has the same feature at its core–fear. By instilling fear and continious harassment one tends to achieve his goals and remains at the centre of the power-politics, always. To cite– I must refer to the level of fear and threat in the people living at the border areas due to continuous Cease Fire Violations. Same is the situation in the deepest Woods of Chhattisgarh and Orissa due to indiscriminate killings and extortions by the Maoists. As an outcome, people living in such areas are haunted by trauma and insecurity. And this insecurity is the much needed fuel for the extremists to keep their agendas alive.
Here I shall introduce you to the ways and mechanisms by which administration, specially the forces, be it Armed Forces or Paramilitaries or State police, overcome this hurdle. They have to tackle 2 pronged challenges—first, is to disengage the source of threat and second, is to engage with the masses. To achieve this, they adopt plethora of ways and means like regularly meeting the masses of any village in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. In one of the instances—an empathetic doctor, while on anti-Maoist operation, deep inside the forests of Red Corridor decided to cater for the medical needs of Forest dwellers and locals.
If we refer to any of the wisest scholars out there– they believe that no matter how advanced the society gets, the best form of intelligence will be Human intelligence, always.
In 1971, during the Indo- Pak war, one person named Pagi helped soldiers during the war to capture posts after post in the areas of Indo-Pak border at Rajasthan. To show gratitude on behalf of Indian Army, Gen Sam Manekshaw met him. Pagi took a helicopter ride to meet the General, and then unpacked his humble lunch of Bajra roti and an onion, which the General humbly shared with him.
Continuing the legacy of human intelligence– communities like the Bakhrwals of Jammu and Kashmir or any group living at the last mile of Western India, have been very useful for the forces. In return of their patriotism and sheer loyalty, they are helped by the administrations in every way possible. To cite– BSF has a special camel contingent, and about 1000 camels are used by the force. But these camels are special as they belong to local herders. Hence it helps both with their purposes and also helps in building trust. Same can be observed at Jammu and Kashmir and many other places along the borders.
But this collaboration and synergy between locals and forces is not at all easy to digest for the extremists and our neighbour cum source of major issues i.e. Pakistan. Thus in 2000-01, when terror activities were at peak in the state of J&K, the extremists supported by Pakistan Army and ISI started targeting the Bakhrwal communities. The act was so heinous that sometimes they killed the person, mutilated the body and carried the head of the person along with them. It was clear that these activities were being done to deter the people from helping the forces, and to keep the morale of people down.
They continued targeting people from Gujjar/Bakhrwal Community forcing people to live in fear. Finally, they shared their grievances and pain to the forces present there. And as a result, security forces operating close to LOC were kept on high alert and they started investigations regarding the same. But, as the area at LOC is one of the difficult and wild terrains, the forces found it difficult to stop the killings initially.
There was growing anger and dissatisfaction amongst the people, and Forces too. To curtail theses heinous acts Forces planned something big. They decided to teach the miscreants a lesson, and planned for an operation—so that the killings stop once and for all. One thing peculiar to this operation was its secret nature. It was so secretive that Government of the day wasn’t informed prior to the operation and also this was the operation where one full squad of 9 PARA special Forces led by their Commanding Officer ( CO) went across LOC and did their job gracefully and that too without any collateral losses.
THE OPERATION :-
The operation was named Operation Apache. On 19 November 2001, Operation Apache began in the pitch dark night, when around 70 men of 9 Para SF crossed the LoC. The target, intentionally chosen, to be an area which was just a Kilometre away from one of the biggest brigades of Pakistani Army.
9 Para overwhelmed the enemy by their size of force, this operation also earned them the respect of the enemy. The Operation was executed by many new recruits who had recently joined 9 PARA.
That night mountain rats showed up on the enemy’s door to pick heads one by one. No one was spared, and this was happening just a stone throw away from Pakistani brigade.
In between the operation, a 6 feet 4 inch tall Pakistani Pathan soldier tried to kill an operative by stabbing him in the back but he was silenced within a second. The operative was injured but retreat wasn’t an option that night. He was treated right there by medicos and the operation continued. With the amount of blood spilled that night 9 PARA sent a clear message to the neighbours, that –there are people on the opposite side of the border who know how to maintain “warm relations” with neighbours. 9 PARA brought with them many heads– Indian Army had never killed its enemies so ruthlessly. This operation shows the extent to which the forces can go to protect the citizens.