Putting his weight behind the upcoming panchayat and assembly elections in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat believes the decision by the government to conduct elections 'is for the benefit of the people'.
Many political parties, including J&K NC and PDP have announced that they would boycott the upcoming polls in the state. But the Chief of Army Staff feels otherwise. In an exclusive interview with Republic TV, he said,
"We would like the elections to happen as it is for the benefit of the people. On the one hand, the local population has been complaining about the governance of Kashmir and has been talking about unemployment, lack of job opportunities, they have been talking about development. If the panchayat elections go through, then all these issues will be addressed because the power devolves to the people, jobs will be available and development activity according to the wishes of people can continue in the valley, in the Kashmir valley."
General Rawat also hit out at the terrorists for showing the youth of Kashmir a wrong path, stating people should realise the true intentions behind their acts. "I think that it is high time that the people of Kashmir understand the game plan of the terrorists and the perpetuators of terrorism, and finally I think they need to shun violence and in fact the people must come forward and reach out to the people, reach out to the young people who are picking up arms and say this is not the best way forward," he added.
In the past couple of weeks, two major cases of brutality has been noted in Kashmir. First it was the brutal murder of a BSF jawan, whose throat was slit. It was then followed by the abduction and killing of three J&K policemen. The terrorists also warned the security forces in the state to 'quit or die'.
But the Army chief believes these acts will not put fear amongst the forces or the people, and instead, this showed the 'frustration' of the terrorists. "This kind of threat which is being given to the police people only highlights the kind of frustration that is developing among the terrorists. I think, it appears that this is the right time that people must understand that the terrorists are now frustrated," he exclaimed.