NEW DELHI – Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has insinuated that the numbers of ‘militants’ killed in Indian-occupied Kashmir during gunbattles with the armed forces, don’t matter to him.
In an interview with Indian Express, the military general warned the youth of Kashmir not to confront the forces as ‘freedom was not possible’.
The official admitted that the youth were angry but hastened to add that attacking security forces and throwing stones at them was not the way as nothing was going to be achieved by this.
He claimed that fresh recruitments were happening in the restive region, adding the security forces ‘don’t enjoy’ killing but if anyone wants to ‘fight us then we will fight you with all our force’.
Drawing a comparison of Indian forces with others, Rawat declared that they were trying their level best to avoid any civilian casualty, showing concerns over people thronging sites of gunbattles.
“I don’t understand why people are coming out in huge numbers to disrupt our operations. Who is inciting them? If they want that the militants aren’t killed, they should go and tell them to come out without their weapons so that nobody is killed … We will halt our operation. We can’t allow people to disrupt our operations and help terrorists to flee,” he said.
The military head admitted that the encounter of Hizb commander, Burhan Wani incited people after which ‘everything was turned upside down in a few days’ time’.
He expressed concerns that someone was feeding the Kashmiris following which they were trying to attack the troops.
Announcing that he was ready to suspend military operations to avoid civilian casualties, the official wondered who will guarantee that there won’t be fire at army men and their vehicles.
Gen Bipin Rawat said there is no military solution to the Kashmir issue, urging politicians and political representatives to talk to people, especially in south Kashmir.
“But they are scared that they will be attacked. It will happen once there is calm. And we are hopeful that people will soon realise that all this is futile and start thinking differently,” he said.
The military chief revealed that the armed forces had deployed at least 500,000 troops in the occupied Kashmir and those who pick up guns were not a big challenge for the army.