Attack on media has affected our mage: BSF Chief
12 May 2001
The Indian Express
New Delhi: A day after DIG A.K. Mullik ordered ordered his men to ‘‘shoot’’ Srinagar-based mediapersons in north Kashmir, BSF Director General Gurbachan Jagat — who had visited the Valley last week — admitted that the Madgam incident was a major setback to the BSF’s public image in the Valley. Jagat said the day before, the BSF had notched up a success when a sentry managed to abort what could have been a major strike by militants in Magam town. A militant trying to wheel an ice-cream cart laden with explosives either into the BSF company headquarters or the SOG (Police) camp located across the road was spotted and shot, triggering the blast out of the targetted area. However, the good work was undone, he said, by the next morning’s incident when the troops assaulted the journalists. ‘‘The BSF squandered away the goodwill and anti-militancy mood’’ after the beating of mediapersons. Meanwhile, the propriety of posting Mullick in such a sensitive area could be questioned after it was revealed by sources in BSF circles here today that his mental framework had been upset by a series of personal tragedies. A victim of militancy himself — his wife was killed in an ambush by ULFA militants three years back — Mullick had sought a Kashmir posting. BSF authorities say the officer’s alleged behaviour was manifestation of a wider emotional stress the securitymen were subjected to in view of their increasing involvement in insurgency. There is also a feeling that Mullick should not be given too strict punishment, for fear of further affecting him. ‘‘He has suffered at the hands of militants and if he is punished again by us now how let down he would feel,’’ a senior BSF officer told The Indian Express.