“Terrorists Still Retain Ability” Of Attacks In Jammu And Kashmir: Top Army Official

Lt Gen Raju said the terror organisations” effort to target political workers is a worry.

Srinagar: A top army officer on Thursday said the terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir still retain the ability to carry out attacks despite improvement in the overall security indicators and reduction in estimates of terrorist numbers to nearly 200 in the Union Territory.

General Officer Commanding, Chinar Corps, Lt Gen BS Raju also said the edifice of counter-terror operations still requires a grid deployment to ensure security to the citizens residing in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Overall, the security indicators have improved. However, the terrorists still retain the ability for a terror act,” Lt Gen Raju told the foreign envoys who visited the headquarters of the 15 corps at the Badami Bagh Cantonment here.

The visiting envoys interacted with Lt General Raju and other senior officers including Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar.

The envoys were briefed by the police and army representatives on the ground situation at the Line of Control (LoC) and in the hinterland.

The police briefing included an update on the efforts on ”mainstreaming the youth” and ”policing under COVID-19 challenges” followed by an Army briefing which included a historical update and the current situation in the JK, an Army official said.

He said the event concluded with a question answer session wherein the heads of missions asked questions to Lt Gen Raju.

In response to the queries, the Corps Commander elucidated the multi-pronged and integrated approach of the Indian Army and police in Jammu and Kashmir.

On being asked about the status of various terror organisations, the Corps Commander shared that last year most terror organizations have experienced depletion in their strength and killing of the group leaders which has resulted in a more secure environment.

He explained that despite estimates on the number of terrorists reducing to nearly 200, the edifice of counter terror operations still requires a grid deployment to ensure security to the citizens residing in the UT.

“International experiences including in Afghanistan proves the need for boots on the ground in counter terror operations,” he said.

Lt Gen Raju said while grassroots politics is taking roots, the terror organisations” effort to target political workers is a worry.

“It is a clear message that Pakistan sponsored elements do not want a change to the status quo. Any activity that leads to normalization of the situation is opposed,” he said.

The Corps Commander also drew attention to the propaganda efforts of Pakistan and the separatists and said Kashmiri citizens have seen through the lies of the cross-border propaganda and are choosing to ignore it.

On being queried about de-radicalisation efforts, the Corps Commander said the principal supporters in such efforts are the parents, society elders and friends who help in identification of youth vulnerable to radical ideology.

A joint civil society and government effort is made to counsel and support such an identified youth, he said.

The official said the visiting envoys expressed satisfaction at the soft policing being attempted in Jammu and Kashmir.

On being queried about the role of NGOs in supporting the government”s efforts, the Corps Commander said many local and national NGOs are helping the government in its efforts in JK in diverse fields including drug abuse, women empowerment and imparting skills to the youth.

“The national NGOs bring in skills, technology and help in building cross regional linkages, which would prove invaluable in the long term,” he said.

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