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“Stone Pelting – A Perspective”

Stone Pelting - A Perspective
Hilights


Faith, Justice, Law & Order

Highlights:

Stone pelting is a common provocation by rioters – Situation is escalated to trigger a hard response – Injuries and even deaths are then unavoidable – Soldiers / Security Forces are then blamed – Media used by rioters to exaggerate and escalate the blame – Proper perspective required to present the truth.

Quotations for consideration:

“Pelting stones on the armed Security Personnel is not sanctioned by Islam, as stone pelting was forbidden by Prophet Mohammed and therefore how can we as Muslims declare lawful what our revered Prophet Muhammad has declared unlawful” – Moulana Showkat Ahmad Shah, President of Jamiat-i-Ahlihadith –  Indian Express, Mar 31 2009.

Key Concepts:

  • The reaction of the Security Forces against the ‘Stone Pelters’, who are mostly teenagers and youth, is pro-claimed by those fomenting the trouble, to be out of all proportion to such acts.
  • How harmful can a mere stone, small enough to throw, be? – They say.

On TV stone pelting is shown to seem no more harmful than like throwing pebbles at stray dogs to drive them away. But is that really the case? It is for serious consideration whether stone pelting is as innocuous as it seems. Teenagers and young men pelting Security Force personnel with stones looks a lot less dangerous than it truly is, unless of course you are at the receiving end.

History tells us that stones were the first weapons used by our Ancestors to kill small birds and animals and drive away the larger ones. As the aim improved with practice, bigger and bigger animals were targeted. Many of our Tribals still do so today.

All this was without a sling, which we learn was used by David to aim a pebble at Goliath and kill him.

Even today a stone is a dangerous weapon capable of causing grievous injury or even death, more so if cast or thrown by those with some skill.

  • Consider that even from over 60 feet distance, a Batsman is so worried about an injury that may be caused by a Cricket ball, even though that is bounced off the ground before it reaches him and is often bowled only by a Teenager, that he deems it essential to wear a helmet and face guard and many body pads as protection against grievous and perhaps even fatal injury. Remember Phil Hughes and Bavalan Pathmanathan who died due to such injuries on the cricket fields.
  • Consider that the punishment for Adultery in many Islamic Countries is to be ‘Stoned’ to death. The Stone Pelters here are advised not use larger stones, though even these would have to be small enough to hold and throw single handed, but to select even smaller stones so that the person being stoned does not die too quickly. Clearly this is recognition that even the smaller stones are lethal weapons. The recent Internet video from Pakistan, of a woman being so stoned to death there for such ‘alleged misconduct’, is a  clear demonstration of the lethality of such stones.

Also, are such incidents of stone pelting only a spontaneous expression of outrage against the presence of Security Forces, or are they well planned in advance to create situations which can then be taken advantage of by others?

This raises the question about intent and pre-meditation. It is evident that the intent to cause harm is there and the ‘Stone Pelters’ are strong enough and skilled enough to do grievous injury to their targets.

It is also obvious that such quantity of stones, suddenly available in locations where they are otherwise not easily found, is proof enough of pre-meditation and planning by some parties interested in creating disturbances where the reaction can be made to look disproportionate. After all they claim, “it is only ‘Kids’ throwing a few stones at armed and protected Forces. Hence it would be a disproportionate response for such Forces to even try to defend themselves, as such defensive steps may cause grievous or even fatal injury to the ‘Kids’”.

Can we really ask the Security Forces personnel to just stand there and be stoned and not take any steps for self defense or even act to disperse what is really a violent mob? Would they be doing their duty if they just stood there?

The statement that such Stone Pelting was only a gesture of outrage is contrary to the reality. There are enough other peaceful ways of demonstration and even if things were to be thrown to show greater outrage, ‘rotten eggs and tomatoes’ would be the more easily available and commonly resorted to objects to be flung at the Security Forces and not potentially deadly stones. But even in such cases, one cannot expect the Security Forces to just stand and take it. Provocation beyond a certain level will result in a response however graded it may be.

Also if it was only a peaceful protest which turned spontaneously into stone pelting, there would then be no need to overturn or set on fire the vehicles of the Security Forces. Obviously this is being done to further escalate the response till instances of grievous or fatal injury occur and claims can then be made by the Organizers, of the cruel and oppressive Security Personnel, targeting ‘Kids’ who are only protesting ‘peacefully’.

This begs the question ‘who gains’ from such entire episodes and what are their real motives? Could there be truth in the allegations that the youth are enticed into such staged ’spontaneous’ protests by financial rewards (per stone thrown?) and threatened with dire consequences if they do not participate?

Doesn’t the extensive Media coverage of a very vocal and demonstrative minority show a very distorted view of the issues concerned, because the majority is threatened into silence and coerced into co-operation?

Such questions can only be resolved by seeking the answer to our own question – ‘who gains from such episodes?’ It definitely is not the Security Forces or the Government! Then Who? –

The Separatists? – The Terrorists?

See Annexure below and THINK and DECIDE Yourself!

Conclusion:

Security Forces and Soldiers are often faced by an unruly civilian crowd, many of whom may only be teenagers, who resort to pelting them with stones, especially in ‘Disturbed’ areas. Any response to such violence, other than just being willing to be so targeted, is always treated as being disproportionate and the media provides the rioters an opportunity to blame the Security Forces and Soldiers. It is therefore necessary that the Authorities, especially in the Military learn how to get accurate information to the Media, as soon as it is possible, and present the situation with the right perspective to preempt rumours and disinformation.

Annexure

As reported by   Smita Prakash (ANI), 20 th June 2011 –

“I am not going to say to you that the stone pelters did wrong. They were misguided. They had energy, they were angry and didn’t know how to say No, when money was offered for a seemingly non-dangerous assignment. This discontentment was channeled by the separatists for their ends. For example if the separatist got 500,000 rupees from Pakistan or the other Muslim countries, which fund the separatist movement, they distributed 100,000 to each leader. They in turn paid each young boy 5000 rupees to throw stones. Those young 16-18 year old boys who were sitting at home because of schools being closed due to bandh calls by separatists, and who have little job prospects, with nothing to do and fed on azadi slogans, picked up stones without realizing that they were being used as pawns. We all did it.” – quoting one of the youth leaders of Kashmir who participated in such Stone Pelting incidents.

– JAI HIND! –

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