JAMMU: A top CRPF officer on Wednesday said the situation in Kashmir was fast returning to normal as the people of the Valley were rejecting “terrorism” and appealing to “misguided youths” to shun the path of violence and return to the mainstream.
Responding to a query about the killing of over 200 militants this year, Special Director General of CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir Zone, S N Shrivastava said the situation has witnessed a sea change as recruitment of local youths into militancy was declining along with stone-pelting incidents.
“I don’t want to give the number of active militants but positive action and good behaviour have a very good impact on the overall situation in the valley which has improved a lot,” he told reporters.
“The situation (in Kashmir) has normalised to a large extent and we are hopeful that complete normalcy will return very soon,” Shrivastava said.
He said security forces were moving in the right direction and “anything positive that will help normalise the situation will be done”.
Shrivastava said he appreciated the Kashmiris for rejecting militancy. “They appealed to the boys to return to the mainstream and follow the path of development. The people of Kashmir reject the idea of terrorism because they understand that militancy is not going to take them anywhere,” he said.
About the threat posed by Al-Qaeda linked Ghazwa-e-Hind group headed by former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa, the officer said, “I feel the people (of Kashmir) have rejected that idea as well.” The CRPF officer said synergy between security agencies operating in the state had achieved a tremendous success in the “operation all-out” against militants.
“The law-breakers were dealt with severely but those who wanted peace are being supported,” he said.
He said the CRPF was fully alert to the situation and would assist the state police in foiling nefarious designs of those bent on disturbing the law and order in the valley. The CRPF officer dismissed the frequent militant attacks in the Valley as “nothing major” and said security forces had a good control on the overall situation.
“Almost the entire militant leadership was neutralised which left all the terrorist organisations weak,” he said.
The security forces are fighting with a high morale against militants, he said, adding that “we are ready to go an extra mile to ensure that there is normalcy in the state”.
In reply to another question about the involvement of Pakistan in radicalising the youth of the valley, he said the foreign country is doing its best and trying hard for a very long time but “I’m sure they will never succeed”.
Reiterating the appeal made by the Army, the police and the CRPF recently to local militants, he said, “Anybody shunning the path of militancy and coming back, we will ensure that the person is not harassed and welcomed in the society.”
He referred to footballer Majid Khan, who had joined the Laskher-e-Toiba, and said he was welcomed back by police and united with his family.
The CRPF officer said NIA raids and arrests during its probe of alleged terror funding in the valley had a positive impact and resulted in the decline of stone-pelting incidents which had become negligible.
In answer to another question about the terror threat at the famous Vaishno Devi Shrine in Reasi district, he said the threat perception was nothing new.
He said the CRPF was organising a football tournament in Kashmir and Jammu regions from today to connect and develop friendly relations with the local youths.
“Six districts in Jammu and eight in Kashmir are taking part in the tournament being organised under civil action programme. The first phase will see eight teams within each district playing against each other and the winner team would take part in the inter-district matches,” he said.
Shrivastava said it was imperative to engage the youth to keep them away from militancy and stone-pelting so that that they contribute in a positive manner in the development of the country.