Infiltration a big challenge: JJ Singh
22 June 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Terming infiltration from across the border as a big challenge, Army Chief General J J Singh today said troops guarding the borders were determined to completely stop sneaking of militants into Jammu and Kashmir. Our effort is to completely stop infiltration for which the troops are guarding the borders round the clock and maintaining strict vigil, Singh told reporters at Titwal after visiting a model village set up after October 8 earthquake. Hailing the jawans, the Army Chief said the country was proud of them for discharging their duties at the mountainous and difficult terrain and foiling attempts of militants to sneak into the Valley. He said he awarded ten jawans for foiling recent infiltration bids and effecting recoveries of huge cache of arms and ammunition hidden by militants underground in the forest areas of the Valley recently. Singh said operations against militants would continue unabated asserting that between 1500 to 1600 militants were still active in the Valley. As a policy any militant holding the gun will be shot dead while care would be taken that there was no harm to innocent persons during anti- militant operations, the Army Chief said. It is our aim not to harm any innocent, Singh said adding with handshake of the people the ongoing peace process and prosperity will continue. Singh, who arrived here yesterday, called on Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here and discussed various matters pertaining to the State. The Army Chief shot down media reports suggesting increase in the suicide incidents among the troops saying there was no increase in such incidents but infact they are on decline. However, he said appropriate steps are being taken to further reduce such incidents. Apparently referring to the suicide of a lady Army officer in Udhampur last week, he said some incidents get wide publicity creating an impression that such incidents were very common. About protection of human rights, he said Army was to protect the lives and properties of the people. However, if any one is found violating the rights he is punished. In reply to a question, he said 20 to 25 jawans lost their lives in Kashmir fighting militants during last about six months which was far blow than earlier years. He said the main purpose of his visit to this remote village, just 50 metres from the border, to see how we could help them come out of the trauma they faced in the wake of the earthquake. 'Our aim is to help the devastated people. I could not imagine that this is the same village which was completely shattered due to earthquake last year, houses were demolished and precious lives lost,' he said. He said in 1947-48 Indian Army had suffered a heavy loss in this village in the wake of Pakistan backed tribal attack.