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Militants in desperation target civilians: Maj Gen Raju

115 militants in South Kashmir, 80 killed

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Nov 3: General Officer Commanding (GOC) Victor Force, Major General BS Raju today said that after failing to take on security forces, militants in desperation aimed at soft targets like killing of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) youth president.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function at Budgam, Major General Raju, said that security forces will take necessary actions against militants to restore peace in South Kashmir.  (Click here to watch video)
“Two to three such incidents have taken place in recent past. We are given to believe these are acts of desperation by the terrorists. They are not able to make any concerted action against the security forces. So obviously they are looking at weaker targets and I am given to believe that police is taking necessary action against the perpetrators of these crimes and we as Army and other security agencies will continue to take all necessary actions against the militants so that people of South Kashmir can live in peace”, he said.
The GOC said that there are around 115 militants in South Kashmir, majority of them locals and this year they have already neutralized 80.  “There are around 115 militants in south Kashmir and out of them, 99 are local and 15-16 are foreign terrorists. And the actions that we have taken since past 6-7 months, we have neutralized nearly 80 terrorists including top leadership. We believe this will continue and as soon as number of terrorists would decrease, the situation will improve”, he said.
Major General Raju said that the situation in South Kashmir is much better. “And, I want to say this that apart from these one-two political killings, the situation in South Kashmir is much better. The stone-pelting and random acts initiated by terrorists have also decreased. So, as the winter season sets in, our actions would be more effective and peace shall return”, he said.
The GOC said that security forces are in the process of neutralizing the Jaish-e-Mohammad militants. “There are indeed members of Jaish in South Kashmir and the process of neutralization of the Jaish cadre began yesterday (at Samboora) and we intend to act particularly against the Jaish”, he said.
Major General Raju said that there are 10-15 JeM militants in South Kashmir. “Definitely there is some strength of JeM and we are given to believe that there could be some 10-15 people in south Kashmir. We look at all them as terrorists and we will be taking action to neutralize them”, he said.
The GOC said that recruitment of the militants is a concern but efforts are being made to stop it.
“New recruitment of militants is definitely a cause of concern. A lot of stakeholders need to work in a concerted manner to ensure that new recruitment is put in check. I would put the onus on the parents to ensure that they are able to take care of their children and I would put the onus on village elders, to the Moulvis in the villages and towns to ensure that they get right message across to the young people. I would like to put the onus on teachers and principals of schools and colleges where these people study so that they are able to bring sense into them that this is not the route that is going to take them anywhere and of course, the role of the security forces to ensure that they conduct operations in such a manner that would not alienate the population and the youth”, he said.
Major General Raju said that police is taking necessary action to stop cops from joining militancy.  “I think this question should be rightly asked to the police and I have got information and I am given to believe that police have taken necessary action to ensure that these incidents do not happen”, he said.
The GOC said that Zakir Musa group has been given much attention but its strength is not more than 8-10 people. “I think Zakir Musa phenomenon hasn’t caught that much of attraction as it appears to be. We are given to believe that the strength is not more than 8-10 people who are with him”, he said.
On the picture of Hizb commander Sameer Tiger holding M4 weapon, Major General Raju said: “That is also a weapon and that also fires same bullet which an AK 47 fire. So we believe it won’t make any impact.”

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