‘60-70 foreign militants operating in Kashmir’
Srinagar: Dismissing a possible spillover of Taliban militants into Jammu and Kashmir in view of development in Afghanistan, a senior Army officer on Monday said that everyone is safe and there is no need to worry in Kashmir
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps Lt General D P Pandey made these comments in response to a question about the development in Afghanistan.
Lt General Pandey said for security forces every militant — local or foreign — is a militant who has to face the consequences. “The question (about possible impact of takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban) has been asked to me a number of times during events which are unrelated. So I will again answer your question… why are you worried? You are safe and you will be kept safe,” the Army commanders told reporters here.
He said if anyone picks up arms, they will face consequence and will either be neutralized or apprehended or will have to surrender. “For us, it has nothing to do with the quality and quantity. Anyone who picks up weapons will be either neutralized or he would have to surrender,” he added.
Responding to a question about the number of foreign militants present in the valley, Lt Gen Pandey said according to the police, about 60-70 Pakistani militants are present in Kashmir.
The Army commander said that their (foreign militants) strategy is to not carry out any attack, but motivate the local youth to pickup arms and get killed in encounters. “It benefits them in a way that when a young boy from our country, our Kashmir, is killed, his family becomes angry with us. This is their strategy and they do not carry out operations and work from behind,” he added.
However, he said the mindset of people is changing in the valley as they have realized that they have been taken up the wrong path by the people within their own community. “The current security scenario ‘reflects clearly that the youth has stopped coming out on the street, that they have understood this game,” he said.
Reiterating his appeal to the militants to shun the path of violence, he said the security forces have been reaching out to the families of the youth who have joined militancy. “We have to ensure that they reach out to their young ones who have been misled and they should be allowed to surrender by motivating them to be a responsible citizen of the country. There cannot be a better opportunity as of today to ensure that they can fall back to civil society,” he said.