May 2018 News

Army Will Fight Militants, Stone Pelters With Full Force: Rawat

10 May 2018
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat has issued stern warning to militants and stone pelters in the Kashmir valley saying they must understand that 'Azadi' will never come and that troops will fight them with their full force even as he maintained that the Army will be happy if the people instead of pelting stones on security forces during the gun battles, persuade the militants to surrender. 'We don't enjoy the killings. But if you (the militants and stone pelters) want to fight us, then we will fight with full force,' Gen Rawat told a national newspapers, in an interview. Asserting that security forces haven't been so brutal, the Army chief wanted the Kashmiri militants and stone pelters to look at Syria and Pakistan, where Army use tanks in similar situation. 'At the same time, our troops try their best to avoid civilian casualties despite grave provocations'. He said there was a need to tell two things to Kashmiri youth very clearly. One, that Azadi will never happen and second that they can't fight the Army. 'Those who tell the Kashmiri youth that this path (a reference towards picking up gun and pelting stones on security forces) will bring 'Azadi', they are misleading them (the youth),' he added. 'Kashmiris must understand that the security forces here are not so brutal. We don't enjoy the killings. We are rather perturbed (by the killings). Our troops try their best to avoid civilian casualties during the operations despite grave provocations,' Gen Rawat said, adding even if the youths were angry, this is no way to attack security forces. The Army chief had a suggestion for the Kashmiri people. 'If the people want that the militants shouldn't be killed, they should go and persuade them (the militants) to surrender with their weapons. This way, nobody will be killed. We will stop our operations if the militants come forward to surrender,' Gen Rawat said, adding till then they can't allow the people to disrupt operations and allow militants to flee from the site of encounters. He said the people who pelt stone on security forces during the operations incite security forces to become more aggressive. Asserting that some of the youths have fallen in Pakistan's trap, the Army chief said they are consistently being incited to attack security forces. He said the Army is ready to suspend military operations to avoid civilian casualties but who will guarantee that troops are not targeted (by the militants and stone pelters). 'Who will guarantee that police personnel, political workers, our troops returning home on leave, aren't attacked?', he asked. He made it clear that when the troops are fired upon or stone pelted on them, there is no way they will not respond and respond sternly. Maintaining that terrorists and stone pelters aren't a big challenge for the Army, Gen Rawat said the Army personnel have been asking people not to disrupt their operation by throwing stones on them. He pointed out that recently, the troops had left one operation against the militants unfinished due to stone pelting. 'We understand that there can't be a military solution to this issue. We want political leadership to go to the villages, inter-act with the people. However, the politicians are scared of attacks. Once there is a calm, we are hopeful that people will realize futility of their exercise and think differently,' Gen Rawat said. He said there were elements, who are inciting young people. He added that there was even fear among the militants, who want to surrender. 'Some of the militants want to surrender but they don't want to show that they have surrendered. They want us to show that they have been captured during the encounter. There is a fear among them'. General Rawat said the people should understand that the turmoil is also taking its toll on development and tourism. 'Houseboats and guest houses are empty. What will these people do?', he asked.