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'Azaadi Will Never Happen, You Can’t Fight Army': Bipin Rawat Tells Kashmiri Youth

General Rawat said that the people are "inciting security forces by pelting stones at them to disrupt the operations…they are inciting security forces to become more aggressive".


Updated:May 10, 2018, 2:05 PM IST
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New Delhi: Expressing his concern over Kashmiri youth ‘picking up gun’, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that we need to tell the youth ‘azaadi will never happen’ as one cannot ‘fight the Army’.

In an interview to The Indian Express, General Rawat said, “I want to tell Kashmiri youth that Azaadi isn’t possible. It won’t happen. Don’t get carried away unnecessarily. Why are you picking up weapons? We will always fight those who seek Azadi, those who want to secede. (Azadi) is not going to happen, never”.

The Army chief said that he is concerned about the youth, who are misled and told that picking up guns is the “path to bring azaadi”.

Rawat further said that he doesn’t attach much importance to the number of militants who are killed in encounters with the Army. “These numbers don’t matter to me because I know this cycle will continue. There are fresh recruitments happening. I only want to stress that all this is futile, nothing is going to be achieved by them. You can’t fight the Army”.

The Army chief’s comment drew mixed reactions from the experts with former interlocutor M M Ansari telling CNN-News18 that he agrees with Rawat and the Army has to fight out any “outside aggression”. On the other hand, J&K State Sports Council secretary Waheed-Ur-Rehman Para said that the “narrative of defeating the youth of Kashmir is wrong”.

Supporting Rawat's statement, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said that "this is the language the militants, who are promoting children to throw stone, understand".

"We have enough forces to maintain and retain Kashmir, and also recover the portion which Pakistan has occupied," Swamy said.

In the IE interview, General Rawat also said he is perturbed by the killings. “We don’t enjoy it. But if you want to fight us, then we will fight you with all our force. Kashmiris have to understand that the SFs (security forces) haven’t been so brutal — look at Syria and Pakistan. They use tanks and air power in similar situations. Our troops have been trying their level best to avoid any civilian casualty despite huge provocation,’’ he said. “I know that the youth are angry. But attacking security forces, throwing stones at us isn’t the way”.

He defined the challenge as one to break this cycle so that calm returns. “I don’t understand why people are coming out in huge numbers to disrupt our operations. Who is inciting them? If they want that the militants aren’t killed, they should go and tell them to come out without their weapons so that nobody is killed,’’ he said. “Let anyone of them say — mein le kay aata hun (I will bring him out). We will halt our operation. We can’t allow people to disrupt our operations and help terrorists to flee”.

Instead, General Rawat said that the people are “inciting security forces by pelting stones at them to disrupt the operations…they are inciting security forces to become more aggressive.’’

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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