UDHAMPUR: Jammu and Kashmir’s top Army commander on Monday said no cross-border infiltration took place this year in the state but flagged South Kashmir region as a cause of concern for the security setup.
“As per an assessment, which is done by all intelligence agencies, there are figures of last three years 2012 – 2015 about successfully infiltrated (militants). As many as 97 people infiltrated in 2013 fol-lowed by 65 in 2014,”, General Officer Commanding In Chief (GoC-In-C), Northern Command, Lt Gen DS Hooda said.
“As per our assessment is concerned, nobody has successfully infil-trated from across (the border) this year,” Lt Gen Hooda told PTI in an interview in Udhampur.
He however said that most of these infiltration bids are actually tak-ing place in Kashmir region and it is only after the snow melts in Ju-ly, August, September, October months, when you see a peak in in-filtration.
Lt Gen Hooda said that 100 militants had been neutralized in 2013 along LoC and the hinterland followed by killing of 150 militants in 2014 and 40 militants this year till now.
On the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army Com-mander said, “See there is a bit of concern. I will not say that the situation has gone out of hand…Frankly, if you compare it with what was there in the past and slowly over a period of time, there was a certain amount of stability in the security environment.”
“But what we are seeing during past some time, soft targets like Panchs, Mobile tower owners, retired police officers etc are targeted, incidents of weapon snatching are taking place. Surely they give us some cause of concern to see that we need to bring the situation back towards normalcy,” Lt Gen said.
“I think South Kashmir is a bit of concern for security agencies. I am hopeful that we should be able to control the situation. Wee have to be dynamic and operational not to be static”, he added.
On the militancy in Kashmir, he said,”We have this in some areas of Kulgam. We do not find it is too much. It is because of local re-cruitments. We will focus on the areas where there are deep roots of militancy”.
Regarding any change of strategy after formation of the new gov-ernment in Jammu and Kashmir, he said ,”We are in constant touch with them (Government) and we had large number of Unified Headquarter (UHQ) meetings, which were headed by the Chief Mi-nister”.
“…overall strategy that is being followed is by and large on the right lines. Frankly speaking, no major change is required. Definitely, (we) need to emphasize on Army,” he added.
The Army officer said more than the security situation which need to be looked at, radicalization, youth engagement and development need to be addressed more seriously.
“There is sense of alienation also. We cannot get away from it,” he said.
On the question about Army reaching out to people, he said “it is re-flected in the figures that militancy has gone down. Local support is not there for the militancy… border belts around Kupawara, there is good relation between people and Army”.
“We are focusing on areas where alienation is high and militancy is there. We are giving a lot of focus to Tral (South Kashmir). Large number of initiatives are taking place, he added.
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