Kashmir

Will convince militants to shun violence and gun culture: Indian Army

New Delhi: The Indian Army on Friday said it would prioritise bringing radicalized youth to the mainstream through a “collective approach” and convince militants to “shun violence and gun culture”.

The issue of conducting de-radicalising exercises along with counter-terror operations in the Kashmir Valley was discussed during the ongoing biannual Army Commanders’ Conference that began here on Monday amid reports that Islamic State ideology was moulding new-age militants in the state.

“It was felt that priority must be accorded towards ushering peace by conducting counter-terrorist operations that minimise collateral damage. Radicalised youth must be brought into the mainstream by carrying out de-radicalization and collective approach that focuses on convincing the youth to shun violence and gun culture,” Director General Staff Duties Lt Gen AK Sharma told reporters.

Lt Gen Sharma, who earlier headed Nagrota-based 16 Corps in Jammu, didn’t explain what kind of exercise the Army would employ to de-radicalise Kashmiri youth who appear to be getting influenced by Islamic State ideology amid heightened violence in the Valley.

Staring at yet another possible hot summer with hundreds of militants and many civilians already killed in the first three and a half months of this year, dozens of youths in Kashmir have reportedly joined three prominent militant groups: Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and a resurgent Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Top Army commanders during the six-day conference that ends on Saturday also discussed the current situation along the borders with China and Pakistan, particularly “along the Line of Control, the increase in ceasefire violations and the adequacy of the response mechanisms”, said Lt Gen Sharma. (KNB)

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