Army to newly-recruited militants: Return to mainstream, welcome awaits you
Srinagar, Aug 23 (IANS) Lt. General, Y.K. Joshi, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of the Army's northern command on Monday said the newly-recruited militants should accept their mistakes and return to the mainstream.
Addressing a function at the Manasbal Lake Park in north Kashmir Ganderbal district, Lt. General Joshi said, "We are ready to facilitate surrenders even in the midst of intense anti-militancy operations.
"Army is for saving lives, not to take lives".
Reaching out to newly-recruited militants, he said that the young militants who are ready to accept mistakes and join mainstream will be welcomed with open arms.
He said the Army is observing the 23rd anniversary of the homecoming of 23 boys who were forced to pick up arms, but were rescued by the Army in the Gurez sector and handed over to their families later.
"Today, I am glad that these 23 men are living a happy life back home with their families", the top Army officer said.
The Army commander said that over the last few months, they are seeing families of young and newly-recruited militants making fervent appeals to their loved ones pleading them to leave the gun culture and the cycle of violence.
"This is really heartbreaking. We make all efforts to ensure and seek surrenders. We want youth to live a peaceful life by returning to the mainstream" he said.
The GoC-in-C said the Army gives a lot of importance to protect human rights while conducting anti-militancy operations and ensuring minimum collateral damage.