#Day42: ‘We’re Disturbed,’ says Northern Army Chief, ‘Need To Introspect’

Muhammad Raafi


Lt General D S Hooda addressing media in Badambagh Cantonment in Srinagar on August 19, 2016. (KL Image: Bilal Bahadur)
Lt General D S Hooda addressing media in Badambagh Cantonment in Srinagar on August 19, 2016. (KL Image: Bilal Bahadur)

“We are disturbed by the present situation in the valley,” Lt Gen D S Hooda, Chief of the Northern Army Command, told reporters in a press conference here on Friday afternoon.

Gen Hooda, who landed in Srinagar this morning met CM Ms Mehbooba Mufti and Governor N N Vohra.

“The past 40 days of cycle of conflict has hurt everybody including school children, traders, government officials and all those lying in the hospitals,” he said at the outset.

Reaching out to Hurriyat Conference, Gen Hooda sought their help in restoring normalcy in Kashmir.

“Everyone; be it traders, civil society and other sections of the society need to help in restoring normalcy in the state,” he said.

Appealing for calm, Gen Hooda said, “we all have to sit together and find a solution to the prevailing situation.”

Kashmir is witnessing a mass civil uprising since July 09, 2016 triggered by the killing of popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 08, 2016 evening in Kokernag area of South Kashmir.

At least 67 civilians have been killed by forces while over 7500 persons were injured in the mass protests across Kashmir. It 42nd consecutive day and there is no let-up in protest.

The prevailing situation has invited concern from United Nations and UNHRC has asked Delhi and Islamabad to let its team visit divided Kashmir.

The general was accompanied by 15-Corps chief Lt Gen Satish Dua. “We need to introspect,” general Hooda said.

Gen Hooda said that the killing of a college lecturer in the army action was “unjustified” and that the army had “initiated a legal action into the incident”.

Shabir Ahmad Mangno, a resident of Shaar in Khrew was killed in army custody and more than 100 civilians were injured after army barged into their houses and dragged them out in the intervening night of August 17 and 18.

“These incidents are intolerable and army will never allow such incidents to happen,” he said.

General said that the situation in the initial days was very grim and it has “bettered since July 09, 2016 except Fridays”.

However, Hooda questioned that wherefrom “are the protest calendars by united resistance leadership coming”.

“These (protest calendars) are encouraging whatever is happening in the valley,” he said, “we have to look into where from the calendars are issued.”

Gen Hooda refused to divulge the details of his meeting with CM and the Governor.

However, he said that the present situation was discussed “threadbare”.

He said that it was unanimously agreed upon that the “situation in the valley was not normal”. “Some sense of normalcy needs to come in,” he said.

Gen Hooda said that army will provide all “possible assistance in restoring peace and normalcy in the state”.

He said that the “counter-militancy” operations in the valley especially south of Kashmir “got affected due the prevailing situation”. “It is a matter of concern,” he said.

Responding to another question, General Hooda said that there was no increase or decrease in the deployment of troops on borders. However, he said that army will help in “clearing” the Srinagar-Jammu highway for smooth movement of traffic.

Hooda was scheduled to address the media at 2:30 PM but the presser was delayed by around 2 hours. He apologised for being late to the press.

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