A video clip of India TV editor-in-chief Rajat Sharma on his prime time news show has been shared massively on social media. The video clip is two minutes and twenty seconds long, and features Sharma and retired Indian army officer and TV panelist Major General G D Bakshi. Puducherry governor Kiran Bedi is among those who have shared this extract from Sharma’s programme. Her tweet has been retweeted over 13100 times already.
Listen to this please.
Rajat Sharma asks G D Bakshi how the explosive laden SUV which hit the CRPF convoy in Pulwama escaped scrutiny, to which the latter narrates an incident, and blames former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti’s policies for having created this situation. The exchange between Sharma and Bakshi is as follows:
Rajat Sharma: Mr. Bakshi, everyone is asking how the terrorist could manage to attack a convoy of 2500 jawans?
Maj-Gen G D Bakshi: Rajat ji, it is very important for the peole of India to understand one thing: every morning, when convoys are on their way, road opening parties do road clearance for detecting explosives. This was an explosive laden car. Why was it not checked? There is a story behind this.
During Mehbooba Mufti’s rule there were three army checkposts outside Srinagar. Once, a Kashmiri gentleman had got angry as to why he is being checked, and crashed two barriers before a soldier opened fire after repeated warning, and he got killed. This led to a furore- why is the army harassing Kashmiris and resorting to atrocities, and Mehbooba Mufti ensured that the jawan who opened fire is today in Tihar jail. Then Army commander General Hooda had to issue a public apology and the barriers were removed. Today, if the car manages to pass through, WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? WILL MEHBOOBA MUFTI ANSWER THOSE 30 CORPSES AND FAMILIES?
Rajat Sharma: Mehboob Mufti has expressed grief over the deaths of the jawans and has appealed for a solution?
Gen Bakshi: This is adding salt to wounds. You get them killed, issue order saying no car will be checked. In Delhi, you and I cant escape road barriers but in a sensitive place like Srinagar, you prevent checking and send a jawan who does so to Tihar jail? Which jawan will have the courage to check? Who is responsible?
On Facebook, this video clip has been shared by a page Presstitutes, with the caption “Gen G D Bakshi gives the reason why SUV carrying 350kg explosives that hit the convoy was not checked”. The video has been viewed over 377,000 times and shared over 9600 times so far.
Others who alluded to this incident, making a similar claim were BJP MP Subramaniam Swamyand Gaurav Arya. Swamy’s tweet was retweeted almost 9000 times. It may be noted that Swamy and Arya have not named anyone in their tweet.
Who authorised the prosecution of our army jawans who in 2014 shot at a Maruti car which smashed through three check points without stopping? That person is responsible for this latest SUV to get near the convoy killing 37 CRPF jawans. The army jawans are still in jail
In 2014, a Maruti car sped past one army checkpoint in Kashmir without stopping. It then sped past the second. On the third checkpoint, army Jawans fired. Some occupants died. Army Commander was made to apologise publicly. The Army Jawans are in jail.https://t.co/U9WPeQZsAP
— Major Gaurav Arya (Retd) (@majorgauravarya) February 15, 2019
Had Mehbooba Mufti’s government issued orders for cars to not be stopped at checkposts? Which incident was G D Bakshi referring to?
How true is G D Bakshi’s claim?
The incident that Major General G D Bakshi is referring to had occurred in November 2014. Two youths had been shot dead in Chitergam village of Budgam district on November 3, 2014 by army jawans, after they had jumped two mobile checkposts. The incident had led to an uproar, with protests breaking out in the valley. The army had acknowledged it as a case of mistaken identity and had admitted to violation of rules of engagement.
General Bakshi, in essence, makes two claims:
- Mehbooba Mufti, as CM of J&K, had issued an order preventing checking of vehicles
- The army jawan who fired at the youth is imprisoned in Tihar jail
Omar Abdullah was CM; no such order issued
Mehbooba Mufti was NOT the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir when the Budgam incident had occurred. The CM of J&K was Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, which was in power in the state from 2009. Abdullah was sworn in as Chief Minister in January 2009. He had acknowledged the Budgam incident on Twitter a day after it had occurred.
Mehbooba Mufti became Chief Minister of J&K much later, in April 2016 following the demise of her father, Mufti Mohammed Sayyid.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley had tweeted in the aftermath of the incident, calling it “highly regrettable” and ensuring a fair inquiry and action against the guilty. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had referred to the incident at a rally in Srinagar in 2014, referring to the fact that the Indian Army had acknowledged that it had made a mistake. PM Modi added that a case had already been filed against the accused. This portion can be heard from 39:25 in the video posted below.
Insofar as the claim that an order had been issued by Mehbooba Mufti that vehicles will not be stopped at checkpoints, The Quint has reported that “(Lt Gen DS) Hooda also said that there was never any government order against “stopping vehicles at check points” following the Budgam incident, as claimed by (Subramaniam) Swamy and other Twitter users.” General Hooda was the then Northern Army Commander.
No imprisonment for Budgam incident
Bakshi’s second claim viz. the jawan who fired at the youths is imprisoned at Tihar jail, is false. Speaking to The Quint, Lt Gen D S Hooda confirmed that the claim about army personnel being court martialed or imprisoned is false.“This all fake news. There was an inquiry that was conducted, but there was no court martial. While we had done our inquiry, a police investigation was ongoing. We wanted to wait till the police completed its investigation, so we could put both the things together and take action on the court of inquiry and police report. But there’s been no court martial.”
The official Twitter account of Northern Command, Indian Army had reiterated the same in July 2016, affirming that no security personnel were imprisoned or court martialed.
In conclusion, the claim made by Major General G D Bakshi about Mehbooba Mufti’s alleged role in diluting operating procedures for the army is false. Mufti was not even the CM when the incident of firing had happened. No army men have been imprisoned or court martialed following the incident. Moreover, no order was issued in the first place allowing vehicles to go unchecked.