Will ensure full normalcy in Kashmir in few months: Top Army commander

Srinagar: Lieutenant General B.S. Raju, corps commander of the Indian Army”s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said on Friday that the security forces will ensure complete normalcy in Kashmir within the next few months.

Addressing a joint press conference with J&K Police chief Dilbag Singh and other senior officers of police and paramilitary forces at the Badami Bagh headquarters of 15 Corps, Lt General Raju said, “Over 100 militants have been killed so far this year. 50 belonged to Hizbul and 20 each from JeM and LeT and others belonged to Ansar-Ghazwatul Hind and other small groups like Al-Badr”.

Lt General Raju said that over the past 24 hours, security forces on the ground did a great job by killing eight militants in two separate encounters in south Kashmir”s Pulwama and Shopian districts.”In one of the encounters, where militants had gone inside a mosque, the forces on ground exercised extreme restraint and no damage was caused to the religious place. With every operation we are moving on the path of peace. I can feel it on ground that there is a palpable difference in the situation”, he said.

He said that this year, so far, 102 militants have been killed in various operations.”There have been only one or two civilian casualties and that is because of the extraordinary restraint exercised by the forces on ground.

“This year 49 youths had joined various militant ranks of which 27 were killed. It doesn”t give us pleasure to kill young boys. But if anybody picks up arms we will do what we are doing.”He said that there was limited success in persuading the youth who get trapped in encounters to surrender.”But we have been able to prevent the new recruitment and to identity those behind the militant recruitment in Kashmir.

My appeal to the people across Kashmir is to come forward and help us preventing youth from treading the wrong path and to bring back those who have picked up arms. We assure them proper rehabilitation”.

Police chief Dilbag Singh said that the mission of the police is to stabilise peace in J&K and they are continuously working towards that.”During this year, there were a number of successful operations against militants and most of them have been clean with least collateral damage. For that, I would like to compliment the field officers who remain physically present during the operations,” Singh said.

Backing the corps commander”s statement that killing young boys doesn”t give pleasure to the security forces, the police chief said that killing a local militant doesn”t bring pleasure to the forces, nor to his family or civil society.”But a person with a gun is a threat to everybody. There have been a large number of civilian killings and attacks on security forces, we can”t ignore that. We have to take required action and will continue to do that”, Singh said.He appealed to gun-wielding youth to surrender and lay down their weapons confidentially.”They will get all the support to lead a new peaceful life. In the coming days, security forces will give full chance to the militants who get trapped in encounters to surrender. We will give them ample time to think and lay down weapons,” the police chief said.Vijay Kumar, IGP (Kashmir) said, “I had stated earlier that from next month, we will shift focus to north Kashmir. Let this month end first. In the remaining days, we will clear remaining militants from south Kashmir and accordingly move to clean north Kashmir of its remaining militants”.–IANS

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