Jaish-e-Muhammad leadership has become non-existent in Kashmir after forces launched a massive assault against the outfit following the Pulwama suicide attack, a top army officer said on Sunday.
Talking to a selected group of reporters, the general officer commanding of the army’s Srinagar-based 15 corps, lieutenant general KJS Dhillon, said that two militants were killed in Shopian district on Saturday and one of the slain militants was an M.Tech student from Ganderbal district.
“He had joined militancy on April 3 and was killed on April 7. This makes us reiterate our call to mothers of Kashmiri youth who have picked up arms to persuade their sons to shun the path of violence. My appeal to mothers has evoked a positive response and many youth have returned and they have been rehabilitated,” he said.
“I request the youth and students who have picked up guns to surrender. Today life of a militant varies from three days to 30 days to three months to few months. My appeal to gun-wielding youth is to return, live a peaceful life and we will help in rehabilitating them”.
About number of militants killed last year and in the first three months of this year, the GoC said that in 2018, more than 250 militants were killed and this year the figure is touching 70 so far. “This year, post-Lethpora suicide attack on February 14, we targeted the Jaish leadership and as of today, I can assure you that Jaish leadership is non-existent in Kashmir, though its men will come again but we will eliminate them,” he said.
The GoC said that at present, the recruitment of local boys into various militant outfits has “considerably gone down as compared to last year”. “The violence level is also low,” he said. About coordination among various security agencies, the army officer said that every security agency is playing its role and so is the army. “We have a coordinated approach and things are moving in the right direction,” he said.
About election preparedness and the role of army in J&K, the army officer said that election is a democratic process and it’s a festival to be celebrated across India.
“It is the responsibility of the election commission of India to conduct free and fair polls with the help of civil administration. Given the situation in Kashmir, army has a role. We provide overall and peripheral security. There have been series of meetings. There was a meeting in Kashmir and also the one chaired by the northern army commander (in Srinagar). Yesterday governor (SP Malik) also chaired a meeting in this regard,” GoCDhillon said. “I can assure you that elections will be held peacefully and all efforts are being made to ensure peaceful polls”.