SRINAGAR: Army today ruled out its withdrawal from the Kashmir valley, saying the time is not right and forces may lose ground and gains they so "painstakingly" made to "inimical" elements.
"The time is not right for us to pull out. If we pull out now, we may just lose the ground and that space may be filled by elements which are inimical to the civil society," General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Srinagar-based 15 corps Lt Gen Satish Dua told reporters here. He said due to persistent efforts of the army and other security forces, "today we have a network grid of security forces in Kashmir, which saw a lot of violence over the last 25-26 years".
"We have brought the situation down to such a manageable level, to a low level of violence so that the work for development can be undertaken," Lt Gen Dua said. "We have made these gains painstakingly, with blood and sweat of our comrades and friends from civil life. Now that we have come to this, I think we need to give it some more time," the top army commander said.
Lt Gen Dua termed the waving of flags of Islamic State by masked youths in after Friday prayers as an exercise to "grab attention". He, however, said there was radicalisation and it needed to be checked.
"We see flags every Friday. Is that flag actually sponsored by IS? I don't know. There are some youths who come and wave flags. They know that it will grab your attention. It is only to grab attention. A 12-second flag-waving is shown for 30 minutes in the evening on the news, so that is it.
"But it is the manifestation of some radicalisation. It is there to see...it is that radicalisation that we have to guard it against," he said.