Mansbal (Ganderbal): Stating that last 32 years of violence has seen dreams of thousands of parents getting destroyed, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command Lt Gen Yogesh Kumar Joshi on Monday said that Indian Army is there to give a second chance to any youth who accepts his mistakes, and wants to surrender and come back to the mainstream.
“The entire administration will facilitate not only their surrender, but also ensure that they are well integrated back into the mainstream,” he said while maintaining that Army observes human rights even during anti-militancy operations.
“In the last 32 years of violence, we have seen the dreams of thousands of parents being destroyed. We are pained to see that,” Lt Gen Joshi told a gathering assembled here to commemorate “23 years of homecoming” of the persons who were prevented from joining militancy.
“The enemies of peace showed false dreams to the innocent children and traded their future. It is regrettable that few people from our own country got involved in this conspiracy,” he said.
He said that Army has built peace in J&K and youth are working with the force to give it new shape. “I can say proudly that the Indian army by giving innumerable sacrifices, has built brick by brick the peace in Jammu and Kashmir and the youth are working shoulder to shoulder with us to give it a new shape,” he said.
“Be it the fight against terror, campaign of development, sports or natural disaster, the way they (youth) have worked shoulder to shoulder with the Army, society and their country, is appreciable.”
The Army commander told the gathering that “we have to work together as we move ahead and we have to stop our youth who have taken the wrong path”.
“As far as possible, every Kashmiri youth, who has taken the wrong path, has to be brought back to the way of peace by offering him to surrender.”
General Officer Commanding 15 Corps, Lt Gen B P Pandey, GOC Kilo Force H S Sahi, senior police and administrative officers were also present.
Later talking to newsmen, Lt Gen Joshi said that “there is no greater joy than being joined back by your families and your loved ones”.
“The story of these 23 individuals who had been forced and coerced to pick up weapons and get into a cycle of violence and become terrorists, is a grim reminder of a fact that there are many amongst us who are still, because of their vested interests and agendas, forcing the youth of Kashmir to pick up weapons and become terrorists,” he said. “This is very sad because they are destroying not only the lives of these individuals, but also the lives of their families and their loved ones.”
The story, he said, also reminds them of the fact that life will give you a second chance if you accept your mistake and come back to the mainstream. “I am sure that these 23 individuals, when they look back will be deriving a lot of satisfaction in the decision that they took 23 years ago to leave the gun and come back to their families,” he said adding that he was totally overwhelmed when he saw the happiness on the faces of these individuals and their family members.
“Over the last short period of time, we have been observing that the families of these young people were pleading with them to leave gun culture and cycle of violence and come back to the families,” he said, adding that it is heartbreaking to see this happening. “We make all out efforts to ensure that we seek surrenders and facilitate surrenders even when we are in the midst of intense operations. We want the youth to come back to the mainstream and we will always welcome them with the open arms.”
The top Army General said: “The Indian army gives lot of importance to observing human rights when conducting counter-terrorist operations,” he said, adding that they ensure that Army use minimum force and that there is minimum collateral damage.
“We, the uniformed forces, are here to save lives and not to take lives. The system and the entire administration will facilitate not only their surrender, but also ensure that they are well integrated back into the mainstream,” he added.