Detailing on the reduction of terror activities in Kashmir and the attempts by Pakistan to push terrorism within the valley, outgoing Chinar Corps Commander, Lt General KJS Dhillon in an elaborate interview to Republic, opined on the changes in the valley since the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, and the subsequent bifurcation of the state into two union territories.
In his interview, he said that the biggest challenge and vision for the security forces was to save Kashmiri lives, and heaped praises for the Jammu and Kashmir civil authority for enabling the same. Lt Gen Dhillon said, "After August 5, the biggest challenge was not law and order, the biggest vision for us was saving Kashmiri lives. To that extent, not only the Indian Forces, but a very big role was played by J&K civil authority and the Central government."
He elaborated how the security forces and government officials of J&K ensured that hospitals were accessible, medical facilities were stocked, ATMs were dispensing money and groceries were available. In addition, Lt Gen Dhillon asserted that the biggest credit was that not a single Kashmiri life was lost due to bullets.
Lt. Gen KJS Dhillon said, "The planning and the coordination and the synergy, which existed which was harnessed and effects of which were put on ground, firstly it ensured that hospitals remained open, pharmacies, medical shops remained open, the ATMs were dispensing money at all times, the students education does not get affected. The mothers could walk up to the grocery shops in the morning, to pick up bread, butter, eggs, milk to feed the children. These were the situations that were there, and in conjunction with the civil administration, we made sure these things were available to the people. As security forces, the biggest credit to all of us is that not a single Kashmiri life has been lost due to bullets of terrorists.
Blaming Pakistan for still attempting to push terrorism to create unrest in the valley, Lt. Gen KJS Dhillon said, "The terrorism in Kashmir, the complete unrest in Kashmir, the innocent lives which have been lost to terrorism including the security personnel belonging to Kashmir while fighting terrorism for over 30 years now, all this has originated from Pakistan and Pakistan Army. On the LoC, they indulge in various activities like bat action, ceasefire violation to spurt infiltration of terrorists and the sole aim is to disrupt peace. Notwithstanding all that, on the LoC, Pakistan Army and terrorists are dealt with in a befitting manner," Lt. Gen KJS Dhillon added.
"The counter-terrorism operations would not have been successful if civil administration would not have contributed by giving a healing touch providing the necessary infrastructure. Pakistan is not a friend of Kashmir, it's clear from the fact that terrorism has brought so many miseries to people of Kashmir," Lt Gen Dhillon added.
Speaking to Republic TV's Zeenat Zeeshan, Lt. Gen KJS Dhillon further emphasised on the 'reduction of terror activities, protests, stone-pelting and overall gathering of the crowd' for various reasons. Moreover, claimed that the signs of 'peace, calm and normalcy' are for everyone to see.
He said, "This reduction is only part of it. There has been a reduction in protests, stone pelting, and crowds gathering for one reason or another is almost negligible. The posters which used to come up threatening people are to the zero levels. Kashmiri people want peace, they want their kids to have a good career, and they don't want to be tensed that there could be a terrorist attack or searches by security forces. The signs of peace, calm and normalcy are for everyone to see."
Revealing that Pakistan is still attempting to infiltrate into the valley through various routes, Lt. Gen KJS Dhillon also said that the Pakistan Army headed by Gen Qamar Bajwa has been refuging terrorists in their Army post, further guiding them towards the Line of Control (LoC).
"The concept is, Pakistan is still infiltrating or attempting to. We had an incident, Pakistani national terrorist was intercepted. They are waiting for the snow to melt. Every day we have skirmishes on the Line of Control where they are attempting to enter. Pakistan Army is actively supporting infiltration. They even house the terrorists and infiltrators in their post and guide them to the LoC, so that is what the Pakistan Army is doing. This trend is going to continue. It is evident in LoC, passes were blocked because of snow, they used an alternate route. But there is nothing to worry about that. We'll look after it," Lt Gen Dhillon added.
Lauding the security forces for resisting Pakistan's attempts to infiltrate terror and conduct ceasefire violations, Lt. Gen KJS Dhillon said, "Pakistan got desperate after August 5, Pakistan's attempt to push in more terrorists to disrupt peace in Kashmir was thwarted befittingly on the LoC. And why they wanted the terrorists to come in post-August 5, was visible when they were killing truck drivers, burning apple crops, killing innocent civilians."
"Kashmir is an agrarian society, the whole economy depends mainly on apple crops. They did burn apple crops, that was terrorism at its lowest. It has felt safe and secure after August 5, which is why the recruitment of children in 2019 has reduced by 45% in comparison to 2018. Last six months, the whole of Kashmir is feeling the most peaceful in the last 30 years," he concluded.