Despite Surgical Strikes, Militancy Not Waning in Kashmir: Lt Gen Dua

Srinagar: The Indian Army said on Tuesday that despite surgical strikes carried out by its forces across the Line of Control in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir last month, the presence of militants along the LoC is still intact and many “desperate attempts” by militants trying to sneak into Kashmir valley have been foiled.

General Officer Commanding of Army's 15 Corps, Lt General Satish Dua, said that Army is prepared for any “misadventure” by militants, along the LoC, and its preparedness to deal with the situation is of the highest degree. He also said that there has been an increase in attempts of infiltration made by militants in the recent past.

“We do see the presence of militants across the Line of Control, the very fact that there are infiltrations at different places and several such encounters have taken place [they are still there] and continue to try to infiltrate. We are prepared for any eventuality,” Dua said after inaugurating Chinar 9 Jawan Club at Boniyar.

The 9 club, inaugurated by Lt Gen Dua on Tuesday, aims at the constructive engagement of the youth of Kashmir and provides an ideal platform to the youth to interact, rejuvenate, play games and to develop their skill for holistic growth in a stress-free environment, a press statement issued here said.

These clubs which have come across the valley are being seen as an effort to reach out to youngsters in Kashmir. The Army has set up the clubs – centres called Naujawan Clubs where vocational training is imparted free of cost. A total of 70 Naujawan clubs is being set up across the Valley which also doubles up as centres for recreation and exchange of ideas.

Dua said that there has been no change in the way militants have tried to infiltrate into Kashmir valley and this year has been no exception.

“In recent weeks we have noticed movements along the LoC. Yes, there is an increase in attempts of infiltration the Indian Army is today and geared up to meet any such challenge,” Lt Gen Dua said.

Kashmir has been witnessing an unrest since July after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and Army has been trying to reach out to the disaffected youths in villages and towns of south Kashmir. The unrest has left at least 91 civilians dead, more than 14,000 injured while around 7,000 protesters have been detained to bring normalcy on the simmering streets.

When asked how he saw the resentment among the youth towards the Army in general, the outgoing Core Commander of the 15 Corps, said that he did conceive the idea that there has been a lot of agitation and anger by the youth towards the security forces but it was not directed at Army.

"I don’t believe and agree with the fact that there is a trust deficit between youth and the army because at several places the army has gone and operated in the recent past, we haven’t had the problem with the youth at all. Kashmiryat is still alive," the Chinar Corps commander said.

On the rising number of youth joining militancy in south Kashmir, Lt Gen Dua said that there is no exact count available on how many boys have joined militancy because the forces have been rounding up people (stone pelters) and many have fled their homes.

“Some of the boys have been hiding they are not living in their own houses and the agencies have not been able to figure out how many of them have joined militancy. Yes, some of the boys have joined militant ranks exact number will be known later,” he said.

He said the weapon snatching incidents in south Kashmir have been a cause of concern and there are small pickets of the police where they are not able to take care of the situation when militants arrive there to snatch weapons. But it is being jointly addressed with the police, Lt Gen Dua said.

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