Kulgam, May 13: Army today said the situation in South Kashmir is not out of control and vowed to take action against the militants who abducted and killed an Army officer in Kulgam early this week.
“In South Kashmir, we have approximately 100 plus militants and most of them are locals,” the GOC Victor Force GOC, Major General BS Raju told reporters in Behibagh area of Kulgam district after expressing solidarity with family of Lt Ummar Fayaz.
The GOC said that Army operations against the killers of Lt Ummar will be directed against the militants who have done the cowardly act without harming civilians. “And that action will be done in our own way and will take place soon. Also, whenever operations will take place, we will ensure no harm to the civilians. We do not want to disturb the peace. We want to ensure that our operations do not effect the civil population. The operations will be directed only against the militants who have done this particular cowardly act,” he added.
Lt Gen Raju said the Army is ensuring the recruitment of militants is prevented for which preventive operations are taking place. “We are engaging with the families of the people and the students who are likely to get onto this track. So, a joint effort is being made by the Army, the police and the civil administration to ensure that this scourge of militant does not spread,” he said.
The GOC said the Army is conducting operations to neutralize militants in South Kashmir. “I am aware of the presence of the militants in the area and I must tell you that because of the high vegetation that is there, they are having slight amount of freedom but I must tell you that we are doing operations in a way to restrict their movement and subsequently neutralize them,” he said.
Major General BS Raju said that Army operations in South Kashmir are intelligence based. “We hear media reports that the Army is conducting a massive search operation. I want to say that we will launch such an operation only where we think that the situation is a bit bad or the place where there is interference in Army’s operation,” the GOC said, adding that at other places, specific intelligence based operations will continue so that common people do not face any hardships.
The Army officer said the situation in South Kashmir is calm in general and the life is going on normally. “The schools are functioning normally in 95 per cent of the schools. I visited many Government schools. It is only a few schools where there is little bit of agitation which leads to some violence because of the stone pelting that they are doing and because of the reaction of the police,” he said.
The GOC said that the situation in South Kashmir is not out of control as is being reported in media. “We get to listen that the situation is out of control, but it is very much in control. There are four to five colleges, 40-50 students who create ruckus. Some virus has entered them which we have to remove. I am sure that the summer will be peaceful,” he said.
Praising the family of Lt Ummer, the GOC said he along with other officers met his family. “It is a very brave family. Even in this hour of sadness, there was hope. They showed hope for the future of their two daughters. We want to assure that our support will be there as long as the Army is there in the Valley,” he said.
Lt Fayaz was a brave soldier who made a difference by joining the Army, the Victor Force Commander said, adding that his battle started when he decided to join National Defence Academy (NDA). “I would like to give credit to him and his parents who decided that they will enroll him into the NDA. Even as he had just four months of duty, still, from my point of view, he is a hero because his battle started five years back and he has fought that battle successfully and his death will not go waste,” he said.
The GOC said from the Army’s side, the family was presented a cheque of Rs. 75 lakh under the army group insurance fund – the paperwork for which was completed in just three days. “The Corps Command and the Army headquarter helped in that. In addition to that, our regimental centre – Raj Rifles- to which unit he belonged to, approximately a sum of one lakh rupees has been given.
“The district administration has also given an advance cheque of Rs one lakh to the family. We want to assure the family that we are with them in their pain and whatever they want to do in the future, we are with them,” he said.
The Victor Force Commander said by killing Lt Ummar, militants have “extinguished a lamp which was spreading light in this area”. “That lamp which could have lit up 100 more lamps and created a new wave here; I am sure that even after being extinguished, this light will still be there,” he said. The GOC announced renaming of the Army Goodwill School Behibagh to ‘Shaheed Lt. Ummar Fayaz Goodwill School’.
At the end, the GOC said although there is no advisory for Army men “but yes, we have said that anybody who is coming into the areas, he should inform the nearest Army camp so that we can provide security to him”.
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