Ready to extend ceasefire if things move smoothly: Gen Rawat

Army chief General Bipin Rawat. PTI File Photo

Stating that the army was ready to extend the unilateral ceasefire in Jammu & Kashmir “if things move smoothly”, army chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Friday said Pakistan should stop sending militants if it wants peace in the region.

“It (unilateral ceasefire) has brought peace in Kashmir and if things move smoothly we can extend it. But if militants attack the security forces, we may have to think seriously again about the ceasefire,” he told reporters at the Army Goodwill School in Pahalgam, 100 km from Srinagar.

Gen Rawat, who is on a two-day visit to the state, said the operations against militants were suspended to give people an atmosphere of peace, and added, “I believe people are happy.”

The army chief said India wants peace along the border. “But as you know Pakistan continuously violates the ceasefire that causes loss of life and property. In such cases, we have to retaliate. If Pakistan wants peace, we expect them to take the initiative by stopping infiltration,” he added.

On Major Leetul Gogoi incident, Gen Rawat said, "Exemplary punishment would be given to Major Gogoi if he is found guilty.”

On Wednesday, Major Gogoi was detained by the police in Srinagar after an altercation with a hotel staff when he was trying to enter the premises with an 18-year-old girl.

In April last year, a video showing Major Gogoi from 53-Rashtriya Rifles parading a civilian after tying him to the bonnet of an army vehicle went viral on social media and created an uproar.

The police had ordered an investigation into the case after the incident evoked widespread condemnation, with human rights activists demanding action against him.

However, the army chief while defending Major Gogoi’s action had said they were facing a “dirty war” in Jammu & Kashmir which has to be fought through “innovative” ways.

However, this time in a stern warning, Gen Rawat said, “If any officer of the Indian army, at any rank, does any wrong and it comes to our notice, we will take strictest possible action.”

“If Major Gogoi has done something wrong, I assure you that he will be awarded punishment at the earliest. The punishment will set an example," the army chief added.

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Ready to extend ceasefire if things move smoothly: Gen Rawat

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