SRINAGAR: The Army has taken action against some of its personnel found not behaving in a “professional manner” after investigating videos of alleged excesses against Kashmiri youths, Lt. Gen. JS Sandhu said on Saturday.
However, some of these videos, which had surfaced on social media, were doctored to some extent and do not give the entire story, the General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps said.
He also told reporters that 100-110 militants were active in the south Kashmir region according to police.
On the sidelines of an event here, the Lt. Gen. was asked what action was taken on several videos that purportedly showed Army personnel beating up youths and using abusive language.
“Some videos have surfaced (on social media) and we have investigated these. Wherever we’ve got concrete evidence against soldiers, action has been taken. Some of these videos are very old and some have been doctored to some extent and do not give the entire story,” he said.
He said as far as the Army is concerned, it ensures that people continue working in a professional manner in the force.
“When I find persons not behaving in a professional way, we haul them up. That is my way of working. So when we are able to identify such personnel … The Indian Army takes action against them,” he said.
The Lt. Gen. said the brutal killing of a local Army officer, Lieutenant Umer Fayaz, in May did not deter Kashmiri youths from joining the force.
“We have not seen any change (in the response of the youth to recruitment rallies after the killing of the officer). The interest and the enthusiasm to join (the Army) is still very high,” he said.
He said thousands of youths had turned up for recruitment rallies conducted by the Army in February, March and April.
“About 19,000 youths participated in a rally in Baramulla district of north Kashmir to fill 800 vacancies. 5000 youths had come in March for recruitment at the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Centre here to fill 200 posts,” he said.
The youth of Kashmir is desirous of earning a livelihood and remains ready to grab the opportunity, he said.
On the killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims in an attack in south Kashmir recently, the Army officer said “the attack is one reversal”.
He, however, said, “We are continuing our operations …
We will continue improving the ground situation (in south Kashmir).”
The officer said the force is continuing with operations to eliminate the terrorists who are moving around in this area.
“So, I am not too worried about the situation becoming too bad or alarming. The situation will remain under control.
In fact … We will continue improving this situation,” he said.
On the number of active militants in south Kashmir, he said police were regularly giving up the figures and “it is about 100 to 110”.
He said the Army has no information about one of its soldiers, Zahoor Ahmad Tokhar — who recently abandoned his camp in north Kashmir along with his service rifle, joining militant ranks.
Asked about media reports that 25 militants had managed to infiltrate from across the border into Poonch district of Jammu region and are heading towards south Kashmir, the Army officer said: “Poonch is not with me and I do not know whether this is a correct input or not.”
Earlier, the Army officer congratulated 251 cadets of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry for their successful passing out parade and said “they have become an inseparable part of the Army”.
“Fifty of the recruits belong to the Kashmir Valley and it is a big moment for their families. My prayers are with them,” he said.