NEW DELHI: Indian Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, on Saturday said that that their job is to separate the ‘terrorists’ from the Kashmiri people and target them. He also rejected claims that the Army has returned to Cordon and Search Operations (CASO) in the Valley as part of its counter-insurgency strategy.
Taking to Indian Express, Rawat said, “We understand that all Kashmiris are not involved in the so-called militancy.
“There are few, select in number, who indulge in terror and violence. Our job is to separate the terrorists from the Kashmiri people and target the terrorists”.
There were reports, after the conduct of a CASO in 15 villages in Shopian district last Thursday that such operations will be a part of the Indian Army’s strategy.
“We are not returning to classical CASO in Kashmir, because we know they cause hardship to the local people. These are area search operations. It is not even a cordon,” General Rawat said. The Army had discontinued CASO nearly 15 years ago because of diminishing results from these operations. Moreover, such operations alienated the local population due to the difficulties they faced.
General Rawat also called upon all Kashmiris to condemn the killing of Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, who was kidnapped and killed by militants in Shopian district on Wednesday. “The young officer was a role model for all young Kashmiris. The way things are, this action has taken Kashmir’s back while Lieutenant Ummer was taking it forward. He was encouraging other young people to join a force which the whole country is proud of,” he said. The Army chief said “these people are discouraging Kashmiris from availing job opportunities while thousands of people line up for police recruitment. How can they explain this dichotomy? This act (of Lieutenant Ummer’s murder) should be condemned by all Kashmiris.”