Army chief general Bipin Rawat has called upon all Kashmiris to condemn the killing of the young Kashmiri Army officer, Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, who was kidnapped and killed by gunmen in Shopian district on Wednesday.
Talking to The Indian Express, Rawat said, “The young officer was a role model for all young Kashmiris. The way things are, this action has taken Kashmiris back while Lieutenant Ummer was taking it forward. He was encouraging other young people to join a force which the whole country is proud of,” he said. The Army chief said “these people are discouraging Kashmiris from availing job opportunities while thousands of people line up for police recruitment. How can they explain this dichotomy? This act (of Lieutenant Ummer’s murder) should be condemned by all Kashmiris.”
Underlining the operating philosophy of the Army, Rawat said “our job is to separate the terrorists from the Kashmiri people and target the terrorists”.
“We understand that all Kashmiris are not involved in the so-called militancy. There are few, select in number, who indulge in terror and violence. Our job is to separate the terrorists from the Kashmiri people and target the terrorists.”
Meanwhile the army chief has rejected the claims that the Army has returned to Cordon and Search Operations (CASO) in the Valley as part of its counter-insurgency strategy.
“We are not returning to classical CASO in Kashmir, because we know they cause hardship to the local people. These are area search operations. It is not even a cordon,” General Rawat said. The Army had discontinued CASO nearly 15 years ago because of diminishing results from these operations. Moreover, such operations alienated the local population due to the difficulties they faced.