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Don’t want youth to join militancy: Army chief

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"Who is saying talks are not going on; Dineshwar Sharma is there with the mandate; if people are not listening to him, what can he do"

Pathankot: Army chief Bipin Rawat Monday said the Army’s focus was to ensure that the Kashmiri youths do not join militancy.

“The government has a clear cut policy that it will not allow terrorists to create violence. Anybody who creates violence will be neutralised,” he told reporters here.

Rawat, who was on a two-day visit to Pathankot, presided over a conclave of disabled soldiers here.

“Our focus is terrorism in the valley. The basic aim of the Army is to ensure that young boys do not join militancy,” he said.

Rawat said the Army’s aim was that it approached the youth’s family and told them that they could ask the youth to surrender as it was still giving them a chance.

“Then if the people still do not behave and continue with violence, then the alternative left (with us) is to neutralise them,” the Army chief said.

Asked whether India is following a tit-for-tat policy towards Pakistan, which was resulting in many casualties, Rawat said the policy keeps on changing.

“See we have to keep changing the policy…We have to keep doing something different. It has to be reviewed so that we keep ahead of adversary,” he said, adding that it had to be more than a tit-for-tat policy.

He said what the Indian Army was doing along the LoC was not being put into public domain and they were doing more than Pakistan.

“We do not want blow our trumpet unnecessarily. Whenever they do something, it is given a befitting reply. Whenever they are doing something, it is a reaction. They don’t take initiative. They know we are strong and we can take strong action,” he said.

The Army chief said Pakistan kept sending militants to cause damage and ultimately it led to violence against the people.

“Kashmiris are our people. We have to look after them,” he said, adding Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions were part of the country and violence would not be allowed there.

On sniping, Rawat said it was a regular affair and there was nothing new in it.

“Pakistan have got snipers and India also has snipers. It is subject to exposure of any soldier. Our drills should be good and we have to ensure that we do not give them any opportunity to snipe at us,” he said.

On former chief minister Omar Abdullah and Kashmiri politicians advocating for dialogue instead of muscular policy, Rawat said the government had a clear policy that it would not allow militants to create violence. He said it had already initiated dialogue through an interlocutor with the people.

“The government has tasked an interlocutor to speak to the people in valley. Dineshwar Sharma is saying that he is open to everybody and those interested in talking to him can come up and speak to him,” he added.

“I don’t understand who is saying talks are not going on. Sharma is the government’s interlocutor. If the people are not listening to him, what can he do,” he asked.

He said they were holding indirect talks to see if they could approach stakeholders.

“What makes us think that necessary action by the government is not being taken to bring people into mainstream?” Rawat questioned.

He said infiltration attempts were being made from across the border but the Army was out to foil them.

Meanwhile, Army chief said they were inquiring into the Bomdila incident in Arunachal Pradesh and would take action against the guilty.

On November 02, a group of soldiers allegedly misbehaved with civilians and police personnel at the Buddha Mahotsav celebrations in Bomdila area of West Kameng district, officials had said.

The local station house officer went to the spot and two soldiers were brought to the police station. After that, some soldiers vandalised the Bomdila police station, assaulted police personnel and civilians, they had said.

“We are inquiring into it. If any jawans are found guilty, we will take action against them,” Rawat said here, while replying to a question about action being taken against the soldiers.

Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Kiren Rijiju had on Wednesday took stock of the situation.

On Sunday, Rijiju had said the Army and the police should respect each other.

Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.

Kashmir Images
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