Gen Rawat urges separatists to engage with interlocutor, rules out govt-militants talks

Gen Rawat urges separatists to engage with interlocutor, rules out govt-militants talks
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Srinagar: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday ruled out direct talks between the Centre and militants and urged the Kashmiri separatists to hold parleys with the interlocutor appointed by New Delhi.

The Army Chief said that the Centre has appointed an interlocutor, who is talking to all parties concerned.

While maintaining that the Centre’s interlocutor is open to holding talks with anyone who wants to speak to him, nothing can be done if the Kashmiri separatists don’t come to the negotiation table, Zee News reported.

”Interlocutor is talking to people. He is open to anybody who wants to speak to him. We’re doing indirect talks, if they (separatists) don’t want to talk, what can we do?” Gen Rawat said.

”The head of the state isn’t going to talk to the terrorists; it’s not going to happen,”Army Chief Bipin Rawat added.

Asking youth to shun the path of mindless violence, Army Chief said, ”It is not worth joining militancy because you will not live long. We are giving you an opportunity to surrender and give up guns. If people do not behave and continue violence, the only element left is to neutralise them.”

Shifting his focus to Punjab, Gen Rawat said that the Union government is taking full action against external forces trying to revive insurgency in Punjab, the Zee News report said.

”Punjab CM is concerned and taking direct action so the violence doesn’t spread again. Outsiders will attempt but the people of Punjab will not let them do it,” Gen Bipin Rawat

Gen Rawat had earlier warned that attempts are being made through “external linkages” to “revive insurgency” in Punjab and if early action is not taken, it will be too late.

He said this while addressing a gathering of senior Army officers, defence experts and former senior officials of government and police at a seminar here on ‘Changing Contours of Internal Security in India: Trends and Responses’.

Rawat also said that attempts were being made again through “external linkages” and “external abetment” to revive insurgency in Assam.

“Punjab has been peaceful but because of these external linkages, attempts again are being made to revive insurgency in the state,” he said, adding, “we have to be very careful.”

“Let us not think that Punjab (situation) is over. We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in Punjab. And, if we do not take early action now, it will be too late,” he said.

Punjab saw one of the worst phases of insurgencies in the 1980s during the pro-Khalistan movement which was eventually quelled by the government.