Stating that there was a beautiful environment prevailing in Kashmir at present, the Army on Monday said the erstwhile state is now “past the stage of uneasy calm.”
“There is an environment of peace prevailing in the region. I think we are on the right track,” Lieutenant General B S Raju, General-Officer-Commanding (GOC) of the Army’s Srinagar-based 15-Corps, told reporters in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
He said that infiltration has been stopped substantially due to a combination of a lot of efforts that is being put in the ground forces, including additional personnel, additional technology along the Line of Control and drones to monitor the movement.
However, the army commander said that there was no desire on the part of Pakistan to stop infiltration. “Ahead of snowfall and winter, the attempts may increase, but our men are maintaining a tight vigil to foil any infiltration bids,” he said.
The Corps commander said that the Army will go tough against militants “but will facilitate the return of those who want to shun violence.”
“Whosoever is holding guns will face tough action from the army. However, those willing to return by shunning the path of violence are welcome. We will facilitate their return. I appeal to the local militants to get ready to quit militancy and return as the environment is feasible to start a new and peaceful life,” General Raju said.
He said that they have been able to keep the violence in Kashmir at a threshold.
“Today there are over 200 militants active at any given point of time in Kashmir which was like 260 in the beginning of the year,” the top army commander said.
According to the army data, out of 207 active militants in Kashmir at the moment, 90 are Pakistanis while the rest are locals. Of the total militants present in Kashmir at the moment, 89 are with Lashkar-e-Taiba, 56 with Hizbul Mujahideen while Jaish-e-Mohammad has 52 active militants. Al-Bard, which had been dormant for years, has been successful in recruiting 16 local youths this year out of which 10 are active, the data reveals.
General Raju said the Army will now focus more on surrenders “because for us, getting a man back is more important than neutralising him.”