'Kashmiri youths joining militancy highly disturbing'

A senior army officer on Saturday said a number of educated youth joining militancy in Jammu and Kashmir was “disturbing” and a matter of concern but the force was taking initiatives to engage them meaningfully.

“I would submit that any youth joining militancy is disturbing. And if educated youth are joining, it is more disturbing. To that extent yes, it certainly causes concern to us. It certainly encourages us to take initiatives to keep the youth more meaningfully engaged,” Corps Commander of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha, told reporters here in Budgam district of Central Kashmir.

Lt Gen Saha said checking infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) was an important factor in ensuring secure conditions for the upcoming Assembly elections. “Because of the improvement and robustness of the counter-infiltration posture, we are able to prevent infiltration from happening and that I think is the important factor in ensuring the secure conditions for the people to be able to exercise their franchise during the elections,” he said.

The army commander said there was no increase in infiltration attempts from across the LoC and “the trends and pattern in infiltration are quite similar to what they were in the previous years.”

He said the effective counter-infiltration grid on the LoC is helping in securing the situation in the Valley, but “if people and the jawans are not together, then situation will never get better.”

He said the incidents of ceasefire violations in Kashmir Valley were not as pronounced as in the other regions of the state.

“In the 15 Corps zone, which is responsible for the Kashmir region per se, we have been having the incidents of ceasefire violations, but certainly they are not as pronounced as it is south of the Pir Panjal in 16 Corps zone.”

“So as far as the ceasefire violations are concerned, the proportion is not as enormous as it is in the 16 Corps zone and they are able to deal with it pretty effectively,” he said.

The army commander said the operation in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara, which was launched on August 6, was still on and so far three militants were killed.

“Operation is still on. Three terrorists were killed till Friday evening. Three AK 47 rifles have been recovered. Some navigation instruments have also been recovered,” he said.

Earlier, Lt Gen Saha unveiled a statue of Naib Subedar Chunni Lal who was killed on June 24, 2007 in a militant flush-out operation in Kupwara. Lal, the most decorated soldier of the army, was posted with Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) Regiment and was awarded Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra and Sena Medal.

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