Army Chief V.K. Singh has said that the prevailing tension in Kashmir was the result of the failure to build on the gains that had been made earlier and suggested that the Army was called out in Srinagar last week because of “loss of confidence” on the part of the administration.
The Army Chief also felt that certain other initiatives should also have been taken to improve the situation.
“So far as the Army is concerned, I think as security forces, a lot of work has been done. The situation has been brought to a particular level when other initiatives should have started to make way for betterment,” he said when asked about measures required to check violence in the valley.
“The Kashmir situation has been tense for quite some time and the reasons are many. The basic reason being that we have not been able to build on the gains that have been made,” General Singh told NDTV.
Elaborating on the steps required, he said, “First of all, there has to be concerted efforts to identify the miscreants... There are few. There are people who are passing instructions on phone. They have to be identified. There are people financing the protests. They must be identified. After that, starts how do we connect with the common man and build confidence in him so that he can stay away from all this. Now this is both an administrative measure as well as it depends on the elected leaders out there at various levels,” the Army Chief said.
“And last but not the least, if you want to impose curfew or something for containing a particular area, it has to be total. You can't have a half-hearted measure,” he said.
Asked whether the Army was deployed as a deterrent to curb the violence, he said, “I think there was a sort of loss of confidence and they thought that Army should be seen more prominently. Probably that is what...
“We said yes (to the deployment) as we are as much concerned as anyone else...Army is already there. It is already carrying out (operations) with the CRPF, with the police in conjunction with the State. So we are there for various things and we are helping them,” he said.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday said that the Army, which was deployed in certain parts of Srinagar last week to assist the civil administration, might be withdrawn from the streets soon.
He said the State government was using the Army in the “extreme periphery” and the presence of the force was not more than six or eight columns (600-800 personnel).
Last month, the Army Chief voiced his opposition to changes in the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, saying demands for dilution of the Act were being made for “narrow political gains.” Later, in a damage control exercise, the Army had sought to explain away General Singh's comments by claiming that these had not been “understood in the correct perspective.”