In a recent interview to Indian Express, Chief of Armed Staff General Bipin Rawat has warned youths in Kashmir against fighting the security forces. He also expressed his concern about youths in Kashmir picking up guns against their own nation.
COAS Rawat said, “Azadi will not happen, you cannot fight the Army — this is a dictum Kashmiri youth need to know.” He expressed his concern over Kashmir youth picking up the gun and those who tell them to pick them this path will bring Azadi… misleading them,” Gen Rawat said: “I want to tell Kashmiri youth that Azadi isn’t possible. It won’t happen. Don’t get carried away unnecessarily. Why are you picking up weapons? We will always fight those who seek Azadi, those who want to secede. (Azadi) is not going to happen, never”.
General Rawat said that he is perturbed by the killings. He said that the Indian Army doesn’t enjoy killing but it has to be understood by the Kashmiris that the Security Forces have never been brutal like perhaps the Security Forces in Syria or Pakistan. These countries use tanks and air power when put in similar situations. The Indian security forces try to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible.
He went on the concede that he is aware of the anger brewing in Kashmiri youth, but attacking the security forces and pelting stones is certainly not the solution.
He also said that he doesn’t give much importance to the number of terrorists killed during counter-terror operations. That there are just numbers and this cycle will continue, referring to the continuous infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan.
He said, “There are fresh recruitments happening. I only want to stress that all this is futile; nothing is going to be achieved by them. You can’t fight the Army. Once a stone is thrown at us…once they fire at us, then there is no way we will not respond and respond sternly. Those how to want to fight us, we will fight them”. He defined the challenge as one to break this cycle so that calm returns.
Chief Rawat wondered who was inciting the Kashmiris to disrupt operations against terrorists. That is anyone is sympathetic towards the terrorists and want them to stay alive, they should feel free to go to them and urge them to surrender and come out of their hiding place without their weapons.
This is not the first time, COAS Rawat has warned the youths of Kashmir for their actions in the state. He had expressed his concern over infiltration of terrorists from neighbouring countries. Unfortunately, he was attacked and hounded by some sections of apologists in the media and intellectual space for his strong actions in Kashmir. The recent statements issued by COAS must be a reminder for both the terrorists in Kashmir and their supporters across the country that the present dispensation will not entertain and indulge with any section of the society that is a threat to nation’s security interests.