ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Trade Policy-Fiscal in Fashion

Above Criticism? IT would seem self-evident that no institution of the state should be above criticism. Not so, however, for the government and a section of the press. This is clear from the sharp response to the few critical comments that have been made on the role of the armed forces, It was claimed that such "disparaging remarks" have reached "alarming proportions" and are meant to "demoralise" the forces, and diminish the people's confidence in them. The fact, however, is that no other State agency in India has been spared public scrutiny in past four decades as much as the armed forces have been. Neither the augmentation of the military arsenal nor the increasing diversion of resources for the defence has been examined. The doings of the army in the past three decades in the north-eastern states in the course of its anti-insurgency ac- tivities there too remain a closed book However, what little is known about these operations, thanks mainly to the efforts of some civil rights groups, does not exactly inspire confidence in the army's ways, The defenders of the army have been pointing out that time and again recently the deployment of the army has been demanded by the people themselves: by Muslims in Bhiwandi, by Hindus in Punjab or by Sikhs in Delhi. This is indeed true. But it is hardly a situation to congratulate ourselves over. It only bears testimony of the loss of public faith in the effectiveness and impartiality of civilian agencies. Further, once the army gets involved in these tasks it is both necessary and inevitable that its actions should be subject to critical examination. In some cases the army is being involved in the government's political manipulations. In Jammu and Kashmir, for instance, not only was the army commander informed in advance of the 'move to overthrow Farooq Abdullah's government but he was physically present when the Governor deposed Abdullah. Expectedly, with recurrent involvement of the armed forces in policing and administrative tasks, they have shown tendencies towards taking their own initiatives. This is what happened in Ranchi recently when the army on its own, without being asked to by the district administration, appeared on the streets of the city to "maintain law and order". Admittedly this may have been an Elated instance, but its significance cannot be minimised.

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