The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand sparked the First World War. I am not saying we start the First World War, but the beheading of an Indian soldier in the Machil sector of Jammu and Kashmir with the complicity of the Pakistani-backed Border Action team (read terrorists) cannot be simply bypassed as 'one of those things'. And barely had the dust settled on that bit of news before the military camp in Nagrota was hit on Tuesday morning.
But let's look at the heading: The Geneva Convention forbids such acts of cowardly violence against prisoners of war or against those in uniform.
So, we must show that it is not acceptable. In a strong and tangible manner.
Do not rush to the home of the next of kin, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal. No one needs that sort of nonsense. Get serious.
Do not make pious laden speeches, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar. Make promises you can keep. Don’t sell Indians dross.
Do not simply make a flurry of noise, all the Opposition parties. This calls for a total sense of togetherness beyond party lines, not scoring brownie points.
A beheading is a deliberate and horrific act against the human body and in that, the soldier was the symbol of the nation. They went for India.
Can this vilification go unanswered?
It is not enough to say that we condemn this sort of act. On the contrary, this soldier’s beheading is to be seen as an act of hostility in the extreme.
If the commander-in-chief of the Northern Command has gone on record that there is concrete evidence that Pakistani forces were involved in this grisly act one has to accept it as prima facie evidence.
What is unbelievable is that the code of honour which exists between men and uniform was so easily ignored and that if proven beyond a shadow of doubt Pakistani soldiers allowed this dastardly act to take place in their presence, it is a matter of profound shame. Not just to the individual but to the honour of his regiment or battalion and its history.
For us, in India, it is a time to wake up from this absurd slumber that Pakistan wants to extend a hand of friendship.
Get over this dream. They do not.
Let’s get this straight. They will provoke us at every opportunity. And they really do not care about a couple of surgical strikes which now have blunted their edge because there was no follow up.
It cannot be assumed that these were the only seven or eight launch pads… that is naïve and the fact that after the first assault we were too busy patting ourselves and letting the rope loose till that much vaunted surgical strike has become passé.
The cruel fact is that we do not grasp the nettle and see Pakistan for what it is. Not unless we hurt it in the pocket and send out a loud and clear message that it cannot be assumed there will be no retribution for this death so wait for it. Will we stop returning to the backfoot?
By the same token let’s stop depending on the United States and Britain for support. They will never back us against Pakistan.
Even Donald Trump will do nothing once he is swallowed by the system and like a stallion, tamed by the Hill.
For one day, our prime minister must put aside our relatively trivial travails over the demonetised currencies and speak out against Islamabad and this atrocity. In terms that have no ambiguity and are bound by time limits.
We have to act like this neighbour does not exist for us.
Do we have the moxie to do this?