Seeking proof of India's surgical strikes is illegal
- Some quarters have been demanding video footage of the surgical strikes.
- But the government is under no legal obligation to do so at the risk of national security.
Amid the heated debate about whether not to release the 'video footage' of India's surgical strike, it is perhaps pertinent to note that such proofs are generally not released in the public domain in any country, and in India specifically, courts have ruled that such 'evidence' cannot be released for public concern.
Noted special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam today said that any demand for proof of army's surgical strikes across the LoC is "illegal and unjustified".
"Such a demand for disclosure of evidence on surgical strikes is not only illegal but also not justified, because if the evidence is disclosed by way of video footage or photographs it would endanger the Indian Army and the security of India.
"This would give an opportunity to the enemy country to adopt counter steps in future by attacking us," Nikam, who was the Special Public Prosecutor in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case, told PTI.
He was responding to the government's stand that it has the proof but would not disclose it in public.
Nikam said, a similar situation on disclosure of evidence on fight between army and terrorists had occurred during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks trial.
He said the special court wanted to know how National Security Guards (NSG) commandos had fought the terrorists who had come from Pakistan and attacked targets in Mumbai such as hotel Taj, Trident and other places.
The terrorists included Ajmal Kasab, the lone attacker captured alive who was later sentenced to death.
"I was asked by the court to examine NSG commandos as witnesses so as to know how they had countered the terror attack, but I refused to do so," Nikam said.
Eventually, the Maharashtra government and NSG had challenged the order of the special court (to examine NSG guards) in Bombay High Court which ruled that such evidence, i.e., strategy adopted by armed guards in the fight against terrorists, could not be disclosed in public interest, he said.
The law of the land also prohibits the authorities to disclose the details of surgical strikes launched by India on terrorist camps in Jammu and Kashmir, he further said.
"To ask for the proof of surgical strikes is not only ridiculous but this would help the enemy country as they would benefit by knowing our warfare tactics and might employ counter-strategy to defeat India, Nikam said.
"Few persons who have raised a hue and cry by asking for proof of surgical strikes by India are grabbing headlines in Pakistani media. Are they really aware of the implications of what they are demanding?", he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Monday released a video clip in which he "saluted" PM Narendra Modi for the surgical strikes by Indian Army but also urged the prime minister to clear the air around "Pakistan's false propaganda".
He was later criticised by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. "It was most painful and unfortunate that the AAP leader was in Pakistani media headlines today as his remarks yesterday gave it a chance to question India Army's claim," the BJP had leader said.