Sunday, Apr 21, 2002
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By Shujaat Bukhari
R.S. Jamwal, GOC, Victor Force, addressing a press conference at Awantipore, on Saturday.
The involvement of locals in militancy has since decreased and it was the foreign militant who was sustaining militancy and not one local took part in `fidayeen' attacks. In the last few months, 86 foreign militants were killed in encounters with the security forces.
"In fact, they have realised the futility of violence and they want to live in peace and want to get rehabilitated,'' Major General Jamwal said. He said that more and more locals were coming forward to lay down arms. In the past few months, only 150 have surrendered. Those who were released militants were also engrossed with their day-to-day activities to earn livelihood, he said adding that 500 such ex-militants have been living in his respective area of operation viz. Anantnag, Pulwama and Budgam districts.
"People want peace at any cost and our priority is also to help them in achieving their goal. We not only carry operations to neutralise the militants but also engage ourselves in social activities which are aimed at helping the people in shaping the future of their children. There can be no peace without participation of people,'' he asserted.
The GOC maintained that he wanted to see South Kashmir flourish again as a tourist area. "This year I am optimistic that the season will bring joy to the people of this area. We will ensure that militants do not disrupt the tourist-related activities."
Major General Jamwal outlined his plans to bring succour to the people who have been at the receiving end of the situation. "I have given clear directions to my officers that a human face of the Army is projected by doing what people want," he said and added that all the mobile check-posts have been abolished on the highway so that no inconvenience was caused to the public. "We are trying to push the collateral damage to zero level while conducting operations," he asserted. The Victor Force, he said, was running ten schools in South Kashmir besides 11 computer centres where education was imparted to students at minimal fee.
"Besides, a number of medical camps are being organised with the help of the State Health Department. We are on a spree of winning the people psychologically by understanding them and their problems."
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