Nowshera: The terror infrastructure across the border was intact and active and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir was "still alive", a top Army officer said on Friday.
"Militancy is still alive in Jammu and Kashmir and the terror infrastructure across the border was intact and active," General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Udhampur-based Northern Command Lt Gen D S Hooda told reporters.
Terming the ban imposed by the Pakistani government on the Hafiz Sayeed-led Jamat-ul-Dawa(JuD) as an eyewash, Gen Hooda said, "We don't see any change of situation on the ground as Hafiz Sayeed continues to move freely in that country and the ban is just an eyewash."
When asked to comment on the threat of Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir, Gen Hooda said, "We don't see it as of now, but it is something that could manifest itself as people watch them on social media as they use it as a tool of their propaganda."
To a query on the demand for revocation of the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in J&K, he said, "These are matters which the government deals with and our recommendation when asked for will be given to the government,"
On the issue of reported decline in the level of militancy in Jammu province, Gen Hooda said, "In Jammu, the situation is under control, our soldiers at the border make sure that no one enters our territory (from across the border) to carry out any nefarious designs."
As to the rise in the incidents of ceasefire violations along the international border in Jammu region, Gen. Hooda said, "BSF has told us that they have observed that attempts at infiltration were made during the ceasefire violations."
On the number of armed terrorists waiting across the border to sneak into Indian territory, he said, "Numbers keep varying and as long as the terror infrastructure and the intent of the terrorists is intact, numbers are not important. The infrastructure and the kind of support these militants get is still there, numbers are not important."
He said that there were indications that the Pakistan army continues to support terrorism in J&K.
To a question on the issue of the Machil fake encounter case, Gen. Hooda said, "The factual situation is that court martial was completed and sent to my headquarters for confirmation.
"My legal cell studied the case and some of the evidence of rifle man Abbas need to be revived. We have sent our recommendation and now it is up to them to take a decision."
The fake encounter came to light on April 30, 2010, when Army said that three youths whom it had killed were militants who were trying to sneak into the Valley from higher reaches of Machil in North Kashmir with arms and ammunition.
However, it was established by J&K police that the slain youths were residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district and were apparently misled on the pretext of being given jobs before being shot dead. Last year in November, five army men, including two officers, were sentenced to life for gunning down the three youths and labelling them as militants.
Gen. Hooda, meanwhile, expressed concern over the non- availability of a firing range in Kashmir after the lease for the same was not extended.
"It is a matter of concern for us that firing ranges have not been re-notified. It is difficult as we have to send our guns to Babina and other firing ranges. I am hopeful that after talking to the government, the matter will be resolved," he said.
He said that the youths in Kashmir joining the ranks of militancy was a matter of concern and the army and the police was keeping a record of such locals.
"The matter is of huge concern not only for the army but for the local people as well. These youth are given a short training and sent to die in encounters. We all need to work on it, the state government and parents need to stop them," he said.
Gen. Hooda said that militants were recruiting local youths to give the militancy in Kashmir an indigenous colour.
"They (youths) are picked, handed a gun, not trained enough and end up losing their life," he said.
He said that troop domination on the line of control in J&K was effective and the personnel guarding it make sure that any bid at infiltration is thwarted.
On a question regarding the Peoples Liberation Army of China installing radars along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh region, he said, "These are normal things which are required to keep surveillance on the border and both sides do it."
He further added, "The situation along the LAC is quite normal and there is an understanding between the Indian and Chinese sides to keep it under control."