Army will deal ‘hardheartedly’ with whoever has ‘weapon in hand’: GOC 15 Corps

Srinagar: The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps, Lieutenant General BS Raju, on Monday warned local militants to “switch off” the path of militancy or face tough action from the Army.
The GOC was talking to reporters on the sidelines of Yusmarg festival in Budgam district, where he said that “whosoever will contest army with weapon in his hand will be dealt with hardheartedly”.
The army commander maintained that those who shun the path of militancy and violence will be facilitated to return to their homes.
“I appeal to youth who are ready to shun militancy to return to their homes as the environment is favourable for them for starting a peaceful and dignified life,” he said.
On October 22, GOC Kilo Force, Major General HS Sahi, told the media that the Army has sent its recommendations to the government regarding surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for militants willing to shun militancy but there was no final draft ready for the policy yet. He had said that the policy will take time to be finalised but the Army would continue to allow local militants to surrender and start a new life.
Terming bloodshed and destruction in Kashmir as a repercussion of militancy, BS Raju said that “militancy has devastated the entire Jammu and Kashmir”.
He asserted that the situation in south Kashmir has started limping back to normalcy as economic activities have started to accelerate. “Situation in southern parts of Kashmir including Kulgam, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian districts is comprehensively normal. Economic activities have started to be taken up. Fruit growers are busy in sending their crop to outside markets. We hope our children will soon join schools if Covid-19 pandemic will not stay more here,” the GOC said.
To a query, he asserted that the overall situation in the valley is peaceful. “The overall situation in Kashmir valley is peaceful. Militancy related activities have declined as compared to the past. Youth have started to concentrate on their future as many have done well in professional examinations recently, which is really a good sign of the situation,” the Srinagar-based Army commander said.
While reiterating the assertions of combating infiltration on LoC, the GOC said that this year the army has been able to plug the infiltration to a large extent but maintained that ahead of snowfall and winters, the attempts may increase, but the armed forces are alert and are maintaining tight vigil.
He said the Army organises the Yusmarg festival every year to provide a platform to local youth to express their talent. “We have more participation of people in the festival this year as compared to the past. Several medical experts and NGOs participated in the event and alerted people about the drug menace,” he said. KNS

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