Corps Comdr’s olive branch to new militant recruits

‘Considerable reduction in CFVs along LoC’

Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, Oct 27: General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lieutenant General B S Raju today said that posing for a photograph with a gun and releasing a video won’t make them a militant and they can still come back and join their families.

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Lt General Raju told reporters at 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar on the occasion of Infantry Day that new recruits can come back and join their families.
“I have a message for the newly recruited militants that posing for a photograph holding a gun in hands and releasing a video won’t make you a militant. You can still come back and join your families. There has been progress in this direction recently and we are hopeful of more on this front,” he said.
He added that recently four cases of surrenders by militants came to fore but there are many such cases. “We are ready to receive the gun-wielding youth back,” he said.
In his message for the youth of Kashmir, the Army officer said: “Situation has improved (in Kashmir) youth should cash it. Young ones should focus on studies. Those who have completed must work on finding opportunities in entrepreneurship, while others should try for Government jobs or starting their own ventures.”
About Infantry Day, the GoC 15 Corps said that Infantry is an important name and soldier from the Infantry Division has a potential to work with other agencies too like Air Force and Navy. “Infantry is playing a great role in every battle. I want to put it on record that we are able to take any kind of task,” he said.
General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Baramulla based Army’s 19 Infantry Division Major General Virender Vats said that over the past few weeks there is a considerable reduction in the ceasefire violations and the overall violence along the Line of Control in the Valley which remains to be seen how long it will remain.
He said that the Army has been able to plug the infiltration to a large extent this year and the smuggling of weapons and drugs from across the LoC too has been stopped.
Speaking to reporters on the occasion of Infantry Day, Major General Virender Vats said that since past few weeks, there has been a reduction in violence and CFVs along the LoC in Kashmir.
“Pakistan has not been able to succeed in infiltration. As far as the reduction in violence along the LoC, whether it’s a change of mindset by Pakistan, it would be too early to judge. We don’t know how long the same situation will last,” Vats said.
He said that the Army has a fair amount of control on the LoC situation. “The resources we have at the LoC are quite adequate and infiltration has been largely plugged this year,” he added.
Asked whether the China situation has resulted in some issues on the LoC, he said that there has been no let-up in the vigil of the Army despite the China situation. To a query whether drugs and weapon smuggling from across LoC has been stopped, he said that there had been efforts by the neighbour to transport weapons and drugs using drones in the plain areas of LoC.
“We strengthened our mechanism and today I can say that no weapon or drug consignment is coming from across the LoC,” he said.
About October 27, 1947, Major General Vats said that the day is observed as Infantry Day by the Army as on this day, tributes are paid to soldiers who fought Pakistani invaders, who had reached Baramulla and were killing people.
“At 10.30 am on this day in 1947, the first Sikh battalion landed at Srinagar airport. They were led by Lieutenant Colonel Dewaan Ranjeet Rai, who headed towards Baramulla and had a face to face fight with the enemies.
He sacrificed his life while preventing the invasion. The process through non-state actors and proxies by our neighbour was stated in 1947 and is still on. Our enemy has been defeated on all fronts and today Kashmir is peaceful,” he said, adding that “We hope Kashmir will be more peaceful in the days ahead.”

Core Group reviews security
The Core Group meeting of the top security forces officials today reviewed security situation in Kashmir and along the Line of Control (LoC) and discussed the security requirements and strategy for the upcoming Panchayat elections
They decided to carry out extensive area domination and counter militancy operations in Kashmir ahead of winter and local body polls.
General Officer Commanding, Chinar Corps, Lt Gen BS Raju and Director General of Police Jammu and Kashmir, Dilbag Singh, co-chaired a meeting of the Core Group consisting of top officials of Civil Administration, intelligence agencies, security forces and Divisional Commissioner at Srinagar.
The Core Group also reviewed the security situation in Kashmir. The meeting also reviewed the security requirements during the upcoming Panchayat elections and to discuss the winter security strategy.
“Pakistan supported anti-national elements are keen to disrupt normal life of the people and interfere with restart of political activities. It was decided to carry out extensive area domination and counter terror operations to deny any opportunity to the terrorists for creating violence, till onset of winters and the conduct of local body polls”, Srinagar based Defence spokesman said in a statement.
The Army officials shared that reports indicating that the launch pads in Pakistan continue to be full and Pakistan establishment is keen to push in infiltrators before the onset of winters and closing of the passes due to snow.
They expressed satisfaction at the efforts so far along the Line of Control to prevent infiltration as robust security grid along with technical surveillance has considerably lowered infiltration in current year.
The officials discussed modalities of continued conduct of operations to prevent infiltration of weapons, narcotics and money in the region. “The forces are gearing up to meet the challenges during the change into winter posture”, they said.
The officials told the meeting that violence levels have dropped in last few months. “Intelligence inputs indicate desperation in Pakistani establishment and separatists to generate violence and civil casualties in the Valley”, the meeting was told.
“The Core group discussed the need for continued intelligence based anti-terror operations with a humane touch. To address the complete eco-system of terror organisations, the efforts to identify and arrest over ground workers who sustain the terror organisations will continue with vigour”, the statement said.
It said that the Pakistan supported anti-national elements are keen to disrupt normal life of the people and interfere with restart of political activities. “It was decided to carryout extensive area domination and counter terror operations to deny any opportunity to the terrorists for creating violence, till onset of winters and the conduct of local body polls”, it added.
“It was also decided to enhance steps to prevent local youth from joining terror organizations including proactive steps in consultation with families of vulnerable youth, and identification and arrest of instigators. Special emphasis was laid down to continue the operations in a manner to give options of surrender to the local youth. Officials opined that the role of civil society was considered important for this effort to succeed”, the spokesman said.
The officials deliberated on the propaganda effort by Pakistan and their antagonistic information warfare tactics. “Sadly, these efforts include propaganda to legitimize killing of Kashmiri civilians by the terrorists. The use of social media to spread disinformation is widespread and needs to be countered proactively. It was opined to continue with a multipronged effort by all agencies to counter these adverse social media propagandas by proactively sharing facts and truth”, the spokesman said.
The core group also discussed the success of efforts aimed at youth and people engagement. “Kashmir has a vibrant youth community with lot of enthusiasm for sports and cultural activities. The images from the events in different part of the valley are heartening and indicate desire for peace”, the statement read.
The Corps Commander and the DGP expressed happiness on the synchronization of actions amongst various intelligence agencies. “The senior Commanders expressed satisfaction at the successful handling of the security situation and asked for continued efforts to maintain peace in Jammu and Kashmir”, the statement added.