December 15, 2021.
Rawat, who hailed from the Indian state of Uttarakhand, made a career out of killing and terrorizing Kashmiris. In fact, he comes from a military family where several generations served in the Indian army. When it came to Kashmir, he was known for his vocal and genocidal statements about Kashmiris. From publicly promoting lynching to proposing concentration camps for Kashmiri children, Bipin Rawat made it clear that he was actively leading India’s ongoing war crimes and settler colonialism in Kashmir.
In 2017, he awarded a gallantry medal to an army officer who had tied a civilian to the front of his vehicle in Kashmir, where Kashmiri rebels are fighting India’s colonial rule. Rawat said the officer’s actions were within the rules because the army was facing a “dirty war” in the region and had to fight using “innovative” ways. The civilian was allegedly beaten before he was lashed to the vehicle with a sign saying “this is the fate that will befall stone-throwers” pinned to his chest. Later on, the Indian army went as far as saying the distressing act, in fact, “saved lives”.
The incident sparked controversy within India and outside, with rights groups saying the officer used the man as a human shield against stone-throwing protesters. Rawat said that “the medal was given as a way of boosting the morale of young officers” (via Aljazeera).
In January of 2020, Rawat spoke of “de-radicalization camps” operating in India, where young Kashmiris who have “completely been radicalized” (in other words, “Kashmiris who are against India’s occupation”) can be isolated. He also added, “there are people who have completely been radicalized. These people need to be taken out separately, possibly taken into some deradicalization camps”.
This is the first revelation of its kind wherein the talk of “camps” being built has emerged to add to the already existing network of prisons where innumerable Kashmiris, including minors, are lodged. He also drew the comparison with the internment of Uighurs in China. Rawat’s comments caused a wave of fear among Kashmiris who claim that India wishes to do what the Chinese are doing in Xinjiang province.
He represents his state in the most transparent and real form. The essence of India is embodied within him, and his statements, and the actions of his army — the army which the Indian nation bestows with pride and prestige. This was not just a general who spoke off-the-cuff; this was a general who let people know what his country has planned to set into motion. (SWK Blog Post, 2020).
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