Army closely watching stone-pelting incidents, presence of IS


Army closely watching stone-pelting incidents, presence of ISRINAGAR: In the wake of stone pelting incidents and alleged presence of Islamic State (IS) flag during a rally here, Army today said it is closely monitoring the situation and the issue was getting the highest concern of all security agencies.

“Certainly, we are watching and closely monitoring the situation as it were. As per my inputs, there was one incident of the kind that you refer to that of the (IS) flag. We are watching the situation as this is something which merits the highest concern of all security agencies and let me tell you that it is getting the attention of all the security agencies,” General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha told PTI.

Lt Gen Saha said the stone-pelting incidents on the choppers involved in rescue and relief operations during the floods last month were “isolated” and driven by “angst” among the people.

“Those were isolated incidents. Isolated incidents of, I would say, angst rather than anger … because it is driven by a complex web of uncertainties in their mind which transitions from having to worry about food, medicines, education for children, their own livelihood, their money, so on and so forth,” he said.

The army commander said such incidents were dealt in a befitting manner under the prevalent circumstances.

“They were isolated incidents and we have dealt with them in a manner which was befitting to the circumstances of that kind,” he said.

Lt Gen Saha rejected the reports of militants carrying out rescue operations in south Kashmir during the floods saying, “We have no such reports whatsoever”. He said it was important to create secure conditions for the approaching tourism season and the Assembly elections in the state.

“I call it ‘sehlab se salamaati’ (from floods to safety).

It is so important for these reasons (for tourism and polls) that we have secure conditions in which, first, people are able to resume their normal life and livelihood, specially the most needy ones and in that sense also helping them to reconstruct their homes particularly in those areas that need this kind of help.

“Second, they prepare themselves and ourselves for the fast approaching winters. And the third equally important point is to have the youth positively engaged. So, from our point of view we are looking at these three factors. Now, the moment you look in these directions, tourism becomes a very important factor because tourism is linked with the livelihood of the people here,” he said.

The army commander said whatever the force was doing for the people of the Valley post the floods, it was doing so in a collaborative manner taking the civil administration and people on board.

“Whether it was the flood rescue period, you all are aware of how the youth of Kashmir was so closely involved with us in carrying out the rescue operations.

“I have said it before and I say it again that I cannot imagine a situation where we would have been able to accomplish our mission without the active participation and guidance and help of the youth and of course the local people,” Saha said.

He said even when it came to immediate relief, the Army has operated through local bodies, organizations and agencies, which have helped it to reach the needy.
Lt Gen Saha said the Army may be initiating the activities but was doing everything only with the collaboration of the people and in consultations with the civil administration.

“Even now, we are having a series of blood-donation camps.

It is happening exactly as per the advice of the local doctors and consultations with the health secretary and so on. We have had one (blood donation camp) in Rangreth, we are having one in Badami Bagh Cantonment today. This will be followed by one in Sopore on September 11 and then Baramulla, Anantnag and so on.

“So, whatever activities that we are doing, we may be initiating, but everything is being done with the collaboration of the people,” he said.–PTI