Shun violence, return to mainstream: Army chief to youth

“We will not allow violence to flourish here, so our basic aim is to ensure young boys don’t join militancy,” Rawat said.

YOGESH SAGOTRA
Pathankot (Punjab), Publish Date: Nov 13 2018 12:34AM | Updated Date: Nov 13 2018 12:34AM
Shun violence, return to mainstream: Army chief to youthGK Photo

Army chief General BipinRawat on Monday appealed to the youth and newly-recruited militants in Kashmir to shun “the path of violence and return to the mainstream for peaceful and developed Kashmir”.

He said the state was a very important region of the country and “Kashmiris are our own people”. 

“We will not allow violence to flourish here, so our basic aim is to ensure young boys don’t join militancy,” Rawat said.

“We keep telling the youth that joining militancy is not worth because you will not live long and for those who have already joined (militancy) we are trying to persuade their families to motivate them to give up arms.  We are giving them an opportunity to surrender and give up guns but if the people don’t behave and continue violence then the only option left is to neutralise them,” Rawat said.

Rawat was speaking with the media on the sidelines of an event ‘SammanSamaroh’ for the Disabled Soldier in Line of Duty at Mamun Military Station, Pathankot in Punjab.

He said most of the militants active in the Valley are locals, not trained and have joined militancy “through radicalisation”.

“In a few days or months they are being neutralised. I hope they understand that they all are being used as cannon fodder...it is better for them to shun violence and come back to mainstream. There will be peace in the Valley, there will be development and more jobs, everything that they are looking for will come only when peace comes to the Valley,” the army chief said.

 

ON ‘RADICALISATION’

“It happens mostly because of misinformation fed to the youth in a veryorganised manner by community talks, in some schools and religious institutions. We are taking action against those who push the youth towards militancy by radicalising them but we don’t have any direct way to nab them, so multi-agency team is probing their source of funding because they do this propaganda with the money power,” he said. 

Rawat also appealed to the media to “serve the truth” and let the people “know what is happening on ground without giving much importance to militants”.

 

ON SITUATION ALONG LOC

General Rawat said though the number of launching pads and militants across the border have been “increasing but situation on borders is very much under control”.

“They (militants) are trying to infiltrate but our counter insurgency grid is ready to take them on at the borders. Our main focus is to stop infiltration and we are quite successful in that because it’s good to neutralise militants on borders rather than inside where they are able to cause more damage.”

 

ON SNIPING INCIDENTS

Rawat said sniping has been a “regular affair” and there is nothing new in sniper fire from Pakistani side. 

“The Pakistani army has got sniper rifles. We too have these. Whenever you get an opportunity and find a little bit of exposure by any solider anywhere sniping will happen. Our focus is on having our drills well so that we don’t give them an opportunity. Our snipers are also ready to snipe and even hit them harder on the border,” he said.

The army chief said “our actions are not tit-for-tat but more than that and that’s why we are continuously engaging the adversaries”. 

“What we are doing we don’t tell and there is lot of happening on our side also but we don’t want to blow a trumpet unnecessarily,” he said.

“Whatever they (Pakistan) are doing is its reaction to something. They don’t take the initiative because they also know that we are strong and we can take a very strong action. They just have these militants they keep sending. Some of them cause damage to our soldiers, some of them cause disturbance in the hinterland but ultimately it is leading to violence against the people.  I will not tell you what we are doing but a lot has been done and will be done,” the General said.

 

ON HINTERLAND SECURITY POST BJP LEADER’S KILLING IN KISHTWAR

“Whenever peace is returning to some area our adversary tries to expand its operations so we need to be ahead of them and that is what we are doing. We recently had a detailed security meeting at Jammu and all agencies discussed a detailed action plan with each other,” he said.

 

ON COUNTER-INSURGENCY OPS IN KASHMIR

“We have to keep changing our policy. We cannot stick to a policy for long because the other side understands it, so our policies have to be reviewed and we have to always remain ahead of the adversary,” he said.

 

ON DIALOGUE PROCESS

Commenting on former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s criticism over the government’s failure to engage with “non-mainstream” stakeholders in the state, Rawat ruled out direct talks between the Centre and militants.

However, he urged separatists to hold talks with the government of India’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma.

“Government could not do much if Kashmiri separatists chose not to hold parleys with the interlocutor and be open to negotiations,” he said.

 “The interlocutor is talking to the people. He is open to anybody who wants to speak to him. We’re doing indirect talks. If they (separatists) don’t want to talk what can we do? The head of the state isn’t going to talk to the militants. It is not going to happen.”

 

ON 'POLITICIANS GLORIFYING STONE PELTING, GUN CULTURE'

“I am not commenting on any political personality because they have own reasons for coming out with various statements but all I have to say that anybody who is disturbing operations of security forces needs to be dealt sternly,” Rawat said.

 

ON PANCHAYAT ELECTIONS

Genera Rawat said we should wait for the result of the upcoming panchayat elections.

“The way people come out to vote is encouraging. We are proud of our democracy and believe in its flourishing at the grassroots level but some elements try to disturb it with violence which we would not allow,” he said.

 

‘NO MILITANCY THREAT IN PUNJAB’

Rawat said though there was no immediate threat of revival of militancy in Punjab, there was a need to be alert about it.

“Union government is taking full action against external forces trying to revive insurgency in Punjab.  Moreover Punjab chief minister is concerned and taking direct action so that the violence doesn’t spread again. Outsiders will try hard but the people of Punjab will not let them do it,” Rawat said.

“There is no threat in Punjab but we need to remain alert. It’s better to be alert than let things to go out of control,” he said.

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