A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for dialogue to “find a permanent and lasting solution to the problem” in Jammu and Kashmir “within the framework of the Constitution”, Army chief General Dalbir Singh urged people in the Valley to “eschew violence and help restore peace and calm at the earliest”, underlining that there is “need to synergise efforts with all the other stakeholders”.
“He impressed upon everyone to uphold human rights and exercise maximum possible restraint while dealing with the protesting mobs,” the Army quoted its chief as saying in Srinagar Tuesday. He also called for measures “to prevent armed terrorists who jeopardise the lives of innocent civilians from moving with impunity”.
The remarks of the Army chief, who met commanders at the 15 Corps headquarters and visited the Victor Force in Awantipora and formations and units along the Line of Control, were similar to those made four days ago by Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D S Hooda who urged “everybody involved, whether it is security forces, whether it is separatists, governments, student leaders… to find some way forward”.
On Wednesday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be arriving in Srinagar to start a two-day visit to the Valley, his second trip in a month.
In a statement, the Army said General Dalbir Singh was briefed by Lt Gen Hooda and Lt Gen Satish Dua, General Officer Commanding of the 15 Corps, on “the numerous initiatives undertaken by the Army all across the Valley to constructively engage with the awaam (people)”.
“The Army, in its sustained efforts to bring back peace and tranquility to Kashmir Valley, organised constructive interactions with village elders, sarpanches and the youth of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Kupwara and Baramulla at various locations in the respective districts,” the Army stated.
Commenting on the Army chief’s remarks, Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said: “Such statements should have come from the political leadership but they are not saying anything. The Army actually controls Kashmir and, therefore, they understand that the current uprising isn’t a mere law and order problem.”
In New Delhi, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “Home Minister will attend various meetings and meet different delegations at Nehru Guest House, Srinagar during his visit from tomorrow.”
During his earlier visit to the state on July 23 and 24, Rajnath Singh said the Centre wanted to have emotional ties with the people of Kashmir and not a need-based relationship. He expressed willingness to talk to anyone once peace and normalcy returned to the Valley.
Singh met 30 delegations including a team led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the Opposition National Conference headed by Omar Abdullah. The Congress stayed away from the talks with the Home Minister.