Kashmir Can’t Be Changed By Killing Last Militant But By Turning The Last Heart: Gen Hasnain

Kashmir Can’t Be Changed By Killing Last Militant But By Turning The Last Heart: Gen Hasnain

4 June 2012
Rising Kashmir
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: The outgoing General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Srinagar based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain believes that situation in Kashmir cannot be changed by killing the last militant but it can be done by redoubling efforts to change the last heart. He is confident that Kashmiris can be trusted and that too fully and completely. In an exclusive interview with Rising Kashmir, Gen Hasnain shared his experiences as the Commander of most prestigious Corps of Indian Army during his 20 month long tenure. He said he had established an “excellent” rapport with the people, which helped him to bridge the gap, which had widened over a period of time. Talking about the changes he pursued he said, “After all these discussions, we put together a concept. And the concept was very clear that we had to enhance the image of the army. There’s no doubt that the army already had a people friendly image but there were lurking doubts of suspicions. We already had a lot of inimical and interested parties who like to smear the name of the army with manipulated-concocted stories in many ways about the army to make sure that army doesn’t get popular. We thought the best way of overcoming this was to have a direct reach to people”. Gen Hasnain said killing of civilians in Handwara and Rafiabad besides allegation of rape in Kulgam were the biggest challenges for him. “But I tried to move fast on reaching out to media and also to victim families. I did not try to defend anybody without investigations and I think that paid well”. Maintaining that Kashmir would take long time to settle politically, he said the youth should not lag behind in becoming part of the rapid economic development. “They are very talented and deserve the best deal in education and empowerment,” he said. He said Kashmiris can be trusted and that too completely and fully. “Only thing that you have to reach out to them with sincerity,” he said. The GoC said that infiltration has gone down in past few years and that has helped in turning the situation around.