NEW DELHI: ARMY Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday equated stone-pelters in Kashmir with terrorists, and once again warned Pakistan over the futility of cross-border terrorism. The remarks came after Rajendra Singh, a 22-year-old jawan, died in Srinagar on Friday after sustaining severe head injuries while battling a stonepelting mob in Anantnag on Thursday.
“If they (stonepelters) can kill people with such acts, are they not becoming like terrorists?” he asked during an interaction with journalists at an event to mark Infantry Day, which marks the sacrifices made by Indian Army’s infantry against Pakistani raiders in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, and their constant courage and service to the nation. “I want to tell them (stonepelters) that no one will benefit from stone-pelting,” he said, adding that the Army had lodged an FIR against the stonepelters, and that “stern action” must be taken against them.
In yet another stark warning to Pakistan, the Army chief said: “We are capable of finishing any infiltrators who reach our side.” However, “if Pakistan continues to support infiltration, we can use other kind of action too,” he said, without elaborating.
Despite knowing it would never succeed, Pakistan continued fuel trouble in Jammu and Kashmir. The idea was to keep the Indian Army “embroiled in this proxy war that they have lost,” to avenge its defeat at the hands of India in the 1971 war and the liberation of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh, he said. “The Indian Army and state are strong enough to ensure that Jammu and Kashmir remains a part of India,” he said.