(This was originally posted in The Hindu)
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat has said restrictions imposed following the scrapping of Article 370 may return to the Kashmir Valley at the cost of freedom of movement because of terror strikes. He also accused Pakistan of carrying out a proxy war to “create fear-mongering” because “a semblance of peace and tranquillity was happening” in Jammu and Kashmir. Whenever there is peace and tranquillity in Jammu and Kashmir, our western adversary creates a situation where people of some community are killed and fear is generated,” Gen. Rawat said after participating in the first Ravi Kant Singh Memorial lecture series in Guwahati, organised by the Assam police on Saturday evening.
The series was titled ‘Assam at Crossroads: Geopolitical events in its neighbourhood impacting North East India’. Referring to the killing of Kashmiri Pundits, Sikhs and migrant workers in the Kashmir Valley, Gen. Rawat said, “We should not allow the exodus to happen from the Valley at all. The adversary will always try to do something to make us fall into a trap.” He said Home Minister Amit Shah visited Kashmir to give confidence to the people that the security forces and the local administration will bring the situation under control.
“The intelligence network is being strengthened and more monitoring of the people is happening there. People don’t like the armed forces to become intrusive, but we will have to get back into this fold again and carry out activities to ensure the terrorists do not carry out any activity,” Gen. Rawat said. He said the armed forces were trying to gradually allow freedom of movement in Kashmir Valley when peace was emerging. Getting back into the restrictive fold “disrupts the freedom of the people living there, but we have to make sure all this is done for your safety and security”.
On the China front, the CDS said issues were taking a long time to resolve, but they are getting resolved much faster than in the 1980s. “You should have faith in the system, especially in the armed forces that they will not let the nation down,” he said.