Kupwara, Jun 24: General officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lieutenant General D P Pandey Thursday said that after “exceptional outreach of civil administration over the past few years, the army’s role has started diminishing in Kashmir.” He stated this while talking to reporters after attending a function organized by the army at Handwara’s Budkot area where army’s school was renamed as Ashutosh Army Goodwill School (AAGS) in memory of the officer who lost life in the line of the duty.
Replying to a query on what are the challenges before army, the GoC Pandey said army was required in the Valley but today civil administration has actually reached out everywhere and everybody officers and the police are reaching out everywhere in the past few years. “Everybody is functioning the way they should function, the army’s role has started diminishing. I feel that we always in support for public outreach, our role is going down slowly,” the army officer said, adding that “Current situation is such that lot of developmental activities taking place, working is going on, civil administration officers are visiting villages every where and lot of security issues have been sorted out.”
The GoC said that all the parameters of violence in Kashmir have come down by 50 percent and the situation is very good with stability across the valley. “In the rare incidents surfacing these days, some criminally minded people are killing the unarmed security personnel is controlled from across the border and within the valley as well and until then the situation will be disturbed to little extend”, he said. “I believe people are worried since innocent people and political activists are being killed to disrupt the developing peace and development in Kashmir. The way security agencies are working on these incidents, hopefully they will be stopped.”
He said that in terms of security, the situation is very good and Handwara that once used to be a hotbed is now very peaceful with the joint efforts of security agencies and people.
About the presence of foreign militants in north Kashmir, the GoC said that “I would like to convey a small massage and that our neighbor in last few years has aimed to claim in the world platform that the entire process of insurgency and militancy is homegrown. They try to project that there are no foreign militants but all militants who are here in the valley are Pakistani.”
He said: “Every Pakistani militant killed exposes the agenda of the enemy and they want the youth to be killed so that the relatives, family, and the entire village goes against the country including his friends of slain.” “There is an entire design that is working that is why the citizens of Kashmir must understand that every youth which you are allowing to die because you’re not able to control is leading to further alienation and trouble.”
The GoC said that it is not in their good but in the good of very few people who are running this conflict economy here and are earning because of young boys dying and forced to run to the agenda of Pakistan.
He said: “Our youth is being used and I will request all the people including the parents, community leaders, civil societies which I have been telling time and again to protect them.”
He also said that: “We have to break this cycle of violence. Killing a militant is not the way but to ensure that our young children should not die rather let the foreign militants die and why are we allowing our children to die for something incorrect.”
To a query related to the fresh ceasefire agreement between the two neighboring countries, the GoC said that the ceasefire has happened as a requirement to ensure that “our population along the LoC remains taken care of and It has come from the request from another side as well but it continued to behave and I am sure the ceasefire will hold but in case anything goes wrong inside then I assure there will be a suitable reaction.”
About the “Army-Awam” engagements and series of programs being organized across the valley, the GoC said that In a recent couple of years, the civil administration has exceptionally reached out to the people of the valley including police, and everyone is functioning as they should function with which the role of the army has started to diminish. “We were always in support and slowly our role has started to go down but education is important and ensures that we reach out to our people”, he said. “Work is in progress, development is in place and a lot of security issues have been sorted out.”
About the back-to-back attacks in Srinagar, the GoC said that any “criminally minded person killing an unarmed can’t be termed as a militant incident.” On the number of militants present in Kashmir, he said that around 200 militants active in the valley and by the end of this year the figure will be further reduced.