‘J&K now past stage of uneasy calm’
Militant killed in Awantipora gunfight, another surrenders
Srinagar, Oct 26 : General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps Lieutenant General BS Raju Monday appealed to local militants to “switch-off” the path of militancy or face tough action from the Army.
The GOC 15 Corps BS Raju who was talking to reporters on the sidelines of Yusmarg festival in central Kashmir’s Budgam district appealed militants to “switch-off” the path of militancy and subsequently spoke tough saying “Otherwise whosoever will contest army with weapon in his hand will be dealt hardheartedly”.
The army officer however maintained that those who shun the path of militancy and violence will be facilitated to return to their homes.
GOC 15 Corps while continuing appealed local militants to say ‘good-bye’ to militancy and start a peaceful and dignified life. “I appeal to youth who are ready to shun militancy to return to their homes as the environment is favorable for them for starting a peaceful and dignified life”, he said.
On October 22, GOC Kilo Force Major General HS Sahi told the media that the Army has sent its recommendations to the Government regarding surrender cum rehabilitation policy for the militants willing to switch-off the militancy and join the mainstream however there was no final draft ready yet. He had said that the policy will take time to get finalized but the Army would continue to follow the existing one and will allow local militants to surrender and start a new life.
Terming bloodshed and destruction in Kashmir repercussions of militancy, the GOC 15 Corps BS Raju said that “militancy has devastated the entire Jammu and Kashmir”.
GOC asserted that the situation in south Kashmir has started limping back to normalcy as economical activities have started to accelerate. “Situation in southern parts of Kashmir including Kulgam, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian districts are comprehensively normal. Economic activities have started to take up. Fruit growers are busy sending their crop outside markets. We hope our children will soon join schools if Covid-19 pandemic will not stay more here”, GOC has said.
To a query he asserted that the overall situation in the valley is peaceful. “The overall situation in Kashmir valley is peaceful. Militancy related activities have declined as compared to the past. Youth have started to concentrate on their future as many have shine in professional examinations recently which is really a good sign of the situation”, Srinagar based Army chief said.
While reiterating the assertions of combating infiltration on LoC, the GOC said that this year army has been able to plug the infiltration to a large extent but maintained that ahead of snowfall and winters, the attempts may increase, but our forces are alert and maintaining tight vigil to frustrate the bids.
He said the Army is organizing Yusmarg festival every year aimed to provide a plate form to local youth to express their talent. “We have recorded sound participation of people in the festival this year as compared to the past. Several medical experts and NGOs participated in the event and alerted people about the drug menace”, he said.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General BS Raju, Commander of the Army’s Chinar Corps (XV Corps), has said the erstwhile state is now “past the stage of uneasy calm”.
“We have been able to keep the violence level at a threshold…where normal people can continue to do their job… (We) have been able to keep the militant numbers also under a fair amount of control,” Raju has said.
In June this year, Army Chief General M M Naravane had said the security forces have had a lot of successes in Jammu and Kashmir recently as people there are fed up with militancy and want normalcy to return.
Meanwhile, A militant was killed while another militant surrendered before security forces in Noorpora area of Tral in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday evening.
An official told Kashmir Despatch that one unidentified militant was killed in the initial stage of gunfire, however the identity of the militant is yet to be ascertained. The officer said another militant who was trapped inside the encounter site agreed to surrender after hectic persuasion by the police and army.
The official said earlier a joint team of Police and army’s 42RR launched a cordon and search operation in Noorpora.
As the joint team of forces approached towards the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired upon the forces, triggering off an gunfight.
Pertinently, this year so far, 190 militants have been killed including top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad in various encounters.