When he took over Kashmir assignment valley was virtually on fire, but today he must be a satisfied man because that fire has not only been doused but the situation is such that the possibilities of new infernos too are drastically reduced. Lt. General KJS Dhillon, Corps Commander of 15 Corps, joined just after the Pulwama terror attack when the situation was too volatile and it was during his tenure that New Delhi took some major decisions regarding the erstwhile state of J&K. During his tenure, Kashmir witnessed calm as protests and stone-pelting incidents came to an end and attacks by terrorists were drastically reduced.
In an exclusive interview with Republic TV’s Bureau Head, Kashmir, Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil, Lt Gen KJS Dhillon talks about a wide range of issues. In an exclusive interview Lt Gen KJS Dhillon said, “Post abrogation of Article 370, the biggest challenge was not ‘law and order’ rather it was to save every human life and credit goes to entire security grid that not a single life was lost due to bullets of security forces.
He further said that because of better training, Army is capable to tackle things both in the hinterland and on the LoC. Having invested quite a few tenures in Kashmir, Gen Dhillon believes that Pakistan is no friend of Kashmir, when he said, “In last 3 decades, terrorism has brought so many miseries to Kashmir and Kashmiris in the form of unrest, abductions, civilians killings et al and all this has originated from Pakistan and Pakistani Army from time to time”.
“Recently we had an incident in Nagrota of Jammu region where a truck loaded with weapons, explosives and terrorist (Pakistani National) was intercepted who were neutralized later,” he added. He further said, “At a time when passes in Valley are covered with snow which is yet to melt, Pakistani terrorists are trying to use alternate routes from International border and routes from Nagrota Side to sneak in,”.
Our reports suggest, “Launchpad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir are full of terrorists. Every day they (Pakistani terrorists) are making attempts of infiltration from diverse areas and Pakistan Army is actively supporting infiltration. Pakistan Army not only houses the infiltrators in their posts but are also guides them up to the LoC and facilitates their infiltration by providing them cover fire. This is one of the major reasons why there has been an increase in ceasefire violations along the line of control and International Border by Pakistani Army,” said Lt Gen Dhillon.
However, Corps commander was quick to add that “Indian Army is giving befitting reply to Pakistan and its Army both on LoC and hinterland. Post abrogation of Article 370, to see Kashmir normal, Pakistan and its Army tried best to disrupt peace in Valley and in order to implement their writ on the ground, “Terrorists started killing truck drivers, burning apple crops, killing laborers, Killing innocent civilians. However the situation was brought under controlled,” Gen Dhillon added.
When asked about funerals of slain terrorists, no longer witnessing huge gathering as was the case in past, Lt. Gen Dhillon said, “reduction in mass gathering at the funeral of terrorists is one part simultaneously there has been reduction in protests, stone-pelting and crowd mobilization as everything is touching to zero levels."
Regarding Pakistani terrorist strategies in Valley, he said “They (terrorists) keep changing their tactics. However, Post August 5th last year, there is hardly any terrorist incident in Valley. After the Pulwama attack, forces focused on the elimination of terrorist leaders. Today, the problem with the terrorists is that no one wants to become a leader of any outfit because the moment the terrorist becomes a leader, he is neutralized by forces,”.
Corps Commander pointed out that recruitment numbers in the terrorist outfit have reduced by almost 45 percent post-2018, and to get misguided boys back, he gave credit to Kashmiri mothers who supported their initiative. “We launched operation ‘MAA’ and made an appeal to mothers to ask their kids to return who have joined terror outfits and we were quite successful.”