Army not against Kashmiris, our job is to target terrorists: General Bipin Singh Rawat
General Bipin Singh Rawat
Rubbishing the claims that the Indian Army is against the Kashmiris, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said that the job of the force is to target the terrorists by separating them from the Kashmiri people, a media report claimed.
General Rawat was quoted as saying that the Indian Army understands and agrees that all the Kashmiris are not involved in militancy. “There are few, select in number, who indulge in terror and violence. Our job is to separate the terrorists from the Kashmiri people and target the terrorists,” he asserted in an interview to the Indian Express.
Claiming that the Army is not returning to Cordon and Search Operations (CASO) in the Valley, Rawat said that the force knows that such as exercise causes hardship to the locals. Army had ‘conducted CASO’ in 15 villages in Shopian district last Thursday. It involved 4,000 soldiers of the Rashtriya Rifles. However, as per Rawat, These are area search operations. “The Army had discontinued CASO nearly 15 years ago because of diminishing results from these operations,” he informed.
Noteworthy, the Indian Express report quotes source as saying that random search operation, in villages of South Kashmir, may be conducted by the Army with an aim to mount pressure, move the militants out of villages and into the forests. The report also claims that this is likely to happen right up to the period leading to the Amarnath Yatra, which from June 29 to August 7 will pass through the districts of south Kashmir.
General Rawat also condemned the killing of Kashmiri Army officer, Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz. He was kidnapped and killed by terrorists in Shopian district on Wednesday.
“The young officer was a role model for all young Kashmiris. The way things are, this action has taken Kashmiris back while Lieutenant Ummer was taking it forward. He was encouraging other young people to join a force which the whole country is proud of,” he was quoted as saying. Strengthening his attack further, he said that this act (of Lieutenant Ummer’s murder) should be condemned by all Kashmiris.
The Indian Express report says that as per the Army estimates, there are around 100 active militants in south Kashmir, including around 80 locals who have joined militancy in the last two years.