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Will India’s Military Revolt? (Page 2 of 2)

What has infuriated the military is the parroting of the Valley Sunni line by Home Minister P Chidambaram (ever-focussed on winning brownie points with the United States) and the silence of Defense Minister A K Antony over the frequent criticisms of the military and the uniformed services generally—this at a time when more than 700 members of these services have been hospitalized for serious injuries sustained during the intifada. There’s also anger that thus far, no VIP has bothered even to enquire properly about these men, much less visit them in hospital.

The present chief minister of Kashmir, the youthful Omar Abdullah, was chosen for his proximity to the heir of the Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi. But in this first test of a Rahul brigade member in the field of fire, Abdullah has failed miserably, apparently seeking to curry favour with the instigators of the intifada even while doing nothing to stop the widespread corruption that has made Kashmir (together with the Northeast) the most administratively crooked part of India.

Sadly, each eruption of violence is followed by an increase in the volume of Delhi's largesse to the state, almost all of which gets used in the Valley and seems to end up in the pockets of the very Valley Sunnis who fan the flames. Kashmir for them has become a cornucopia, sustained by constant agitations that lead to fresh transfusions of cash, a part of which get used to initiate more trouble.

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Those on the field say that it’s only a matter of time before a revolt takes place within the uniformed services—not just in Kashmir, but in other parts of India, where the present government is adopting a policy of hunting with the hounds and running with the hares.

But given the multiple arrests and other disciplinary action against uniformed personnel (which they contrast with the kid-glove treatment meted out to the intifada leadership), the time may be approaching when the hounds refuse to hunt. Instead, they may decide to step back to let Kashmir's political leadership and its Delhi backers face the consequences of a policy of winks and nods to pro-Pakistan elements seeking to prise Kashmir loose from India through international intervention.

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