NATIONAL

1,500 militants still active: Army officer

"Situation in J&K is under control but infiltration is continuing"

Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Northern Command Lt. Gen. Hari Prasad said on Friday that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was under control but infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) was continuing. Around 1,500 militants were still active in the State.

Speaking to The Hindu after handing over charge as Colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment to Lt. Gen. P.R. Gangadharan, at the Regimental Centre here, Lt. Gen. Prasad said: "When I took over as [the] GOC, the number of militants was 3,000 and we worked hard and it has reduced to a large extent. The [rate of] infiltration has also trickled down."

Tremendous response

Gen. Prasad said that the Army's strategy during his two-year tenure had worked well and there had been a tremendous response from the people. The strategy was to have a dominant presence on the LoC, prevent infiltration, eliminate the militants and win the hearts of the people. "I am glad that we have come closer to the people and Operation Sadbhavna has worked very well." "They [the people] appreciate the fact that we are their Army," he said. Containing militancy had been a major success story for him.

Gen. Prasad, who is retiring on August 31, confirmed that infiltration was taking place and there had been a significant number of attempts in Gurez and other sectors in June and July. "The number is much larger than the previous years and [the] size of [the] groups is also big," he said. Infiltration had been taking place in all areas. Though he refused to comment on Pakistan's role in aiding and abetting militancy, Gen. Prasad said, "there is a desperate attempt to push them all across."

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