Army to recruit locals to fight terrorism
27 December 2003
Jammu: The Army would shortly start recruiting local youth in an effort to break the backbone of terrorism to the south of Pir Panjal and help the security agencies restore a semblance of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir. Talking to a group of reporters, the General officer Commanding (GoC), Northern Command, Lt. Gen. Hari Prasad, said, 'My priority is to get rid of the terrorists in the heights of Pir Panjal and for this purpose, we are taking steps to involve the locals. In the difficult terrain of J&K, the locals are familiar with the surroundings and they can emerge as a prime asset in counter-terror operations in the rugged terrain.' For this purpose, he said seven Battalions were being formed in which four would be in Jammu region and three in the Kashmir valley exclusively for helping the Army in counter-insurgency and acting as watchmen to ward off terrorists from the villages. On the situation prevailing on the Line of Control since the announcement of ceasefire a month ago, the General said the fall in infiltration had nothing to do with any perceived change of position by Pakistan. 'There is no doubt infiltration is down at the Line of Control. Factually speaking, every year the infiltration graph goes down at this time of the year with the passes in the key Rajouri-Poonch tract of Jammu region, which are the main infiltration prone areas, getting snow capped.'