Time not opportune for us to move unarmed: Army

SRINAGAR – Stating that time has not come yet for government forces to do normal duty or move freely without Arms, General Officer Commanding 15 Corps, Lieutenant General Subrata Saha on Tuesday said that security agencies have learnt a lesson from Amchipora Shopian militant attack in which three policemen were killed the previous day.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function at Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar, Lt General Saha said that time has not come yet when government forces can move unarmed in Kashmir. He said that government forces should take all precautionary measures while doing normal duty.

“We learn from every incident and the Amchipora Shopian incident also taught us a lesson. The three policemen had gone to the village to investigate a matter related to land dispute but the militants took advantage and attacked them. Whether any militant group takes responsibility of the incident or not, we are investigating the matter and the assailants would be identified and nabbed,” he said.

Responding to a question, Lt General Sabrata Saha said that the matter relating to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is under consideration of Union Government of India and both the State and Central Government are having discussions on the issue.

When asked about the revival of militancy in Kashmir, Saha said that militants have never been decimated completely so question of revival never arises. “Operations against the militants are going on and security agencies in recent past have managed to neutralize the top ranked militant commanders,” he said, adding that they have a very effective intelligence grid in place and there is lot of synergy between different agencies.

Responding to a question, Saha said Army fears intense infiltration attempts by militants from traditional routes along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. “Since snow has started melting on the LoC, there is apprehension that militants may try to sneak into our territory,” he said.

He said Army has already intensified vigil along the LoC, where there is less snow, to foil any infiltration bid by the militants. Saha said that 200 militants are still present in Valley.

Saha, while responding to a question about youth joining militant ranks, said that it is the collective responsibility of all the agencies to empower youth, provide them employment and take care of them. “Lack of resources, employment and avenues help militant groups to exploit youth so all the agencies in the government should engage them (youth) and create employment opportunities for them,” he said. CNS