People in Kashmir unaffected by Pakistani propaganda; want to lead normal life: Top Indian military commander
People in Jammu and Kashmir are unaffected with Pakistan's propaganda about the Indian government and armed forces, the Indian Army's top commander in Kashmir said
People in Jammu and Kashmir are unaffected with Pakistan's propaganda about the Indian government and armed forces, the Indian Army's top commander in Kashmir said.
Lt Gen B.S. Raju, who heads the Srinagar-headquartered 15 Corps, told IANS that the situation in the Kashmir Valley is normal and Pakistan is not happy about it and "propagating false narratives about the Valley".
"Pakistan is not happy with the normalcy. They are propagating the narrative that there is violence, mishandling, misgovernance and the security forces in the Valley have gone berserk. They are doing it more for their domestic population," he said.
He stressed that Pakistan has been stretched domestically but yet it is not able to let go of its Kashmir cause. "Today the little noise it is making is to only retain that little relevance within the community that they are still doing something for Kashmir," he said.
The Srinagar Corps Commander also held that theoretically and practically, there is no option for Pakistan in the Valley. "From the military point of view or Information Warfare point of view, it can keep spending its money... but it is of no use," he said.
He also said that the population in the Valley is aware of the ground situation. "They are living here," he said.
"Pakistan says there is chaos in the Valley, but the local population here says they are living in normal conditions," he said.
He said that the local population now understands because of some security issues there are some restrictions on highways or roads or once in a while when a counter-terror operation is on.
"We are doing counter-terror operations without harming other people in the areas. We are appealing the youths who have taken arms to surrender," Lt Gen Raju said, adding that "more and more youths are willing to shun terrorism and surrender now".
He also maintained that people are looking towards good governance and development in the Valley now.
The people in Jammu and Kashmir seek a decent and a quality life like anyone else in the world and do not want violence, said Lt Gen
"What people here want is just a quality and decent life like anyone else in the world wants. This is the common man's aspiration in the Valley," he said.
"One or two percent of people here drive the (Pakistani) agenda. The silent masses suffer because of this small component," he contended.
"The trajectory gives hope that we are on the right track and things will normalise," he said.
He said the Indian Army is taking up various outreach programmes in the valley so that barrier between the army and local people is broken.
"We want to break the barrier between army and 'awam' (common people). We want to make them feel at ease in our presence," Lt Gen Raju said.
Stressing that he has directed his men that breaking the barrier is very important, he said: "We to get them into our garrison where we share a cup of tea and have informal chat. We also help them in solving their problems. We ensure they go out happier."
He said that a lot of children in the Valley "don't know what is behind the wall, how do Indian Army lives and what they do".
"We are making such an outreach programme extensively and we need to scale it up," he added.