Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that peace should be given a chance in Indian occupied Kashmir, says Indian media reports.
In an exclusive conversation with The Economic Times, Gen Rawat stated that he supports dialogue to solve the ongoing problems in IoK.
“Talks must happen. The issue is that a lot of locals are joining militancy. We kill them and more would join. Infiltration can be controlled, but this cycle of recruitment of local youth can go on and on. So…let’s give peace a chance and see,” he told The Economic Times.
Peace, he had said, was the only way to improve the situation in Kashmir that had been witnessing militancy for about three decades now.
“There is hope that the situation in Kashmir will improve…it’s not gone wrong. There are some youths in Kashmir who have strayed and have been radicalised. They think they can achieve their goal through guns,” Rawat had said.
“But the time is not far when even they will be convinced that neither the forces nor the militants will be able to achieve their goal. We have to together find a way for peace and we will be successful in that,” he had said.
Rawat largely desisted from shedding light on a probe against Major Leetul Gogoi who made headlines after using a Kashmiri as a human shield.
An inquiry is underway. Strongest punishment will be meted out if he is found guilty, he said.
Elaborating on the situation along the nation’s frontier with China, Rawat said the situation had “returned to normal” following the recent Modi-Xi summit. “Things at the Line of Actual Control are normal as earlier. We are encouraged by the meetings at the highest level.”
In April this year, the army chief Army chief had said the “radicalised youth of the Valley” would soon “realise” that the gun was not the solution to their problem as neither the Army nor the militants would achieve their goals through it.
While commenting on the controversial incident in which an Indian Major Leetul Gogoi had tied a Kashmiri youth to his jeep as a ‘human shield’, General Rawat said: “The inquiry is on. I had also made the statement that strongest punishment would be given to him if he is found guilty.”
Indian atrocities continued unabated in IoK as Indian troops, in their continued acts of state terrorism, martyred 31 Kashmiris including a woman and six young boys during the last month of May.
According to the data issued by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, the killings rendered three women widowed and five children orphaned.
During the period, 314 people were injured due to the use of brute force including the firing of bullets, pellets, and tear-gas shells by the Indian army, paramilitary, and police personnel on peaceful protesters.
Over 288 persons including Hurriyat leaders, activists, and students were arrested during house raids and crackdown operations. The troops also damaged 67 residential houses and disgraced six women during the month.