Srinagar: The Army would take steps to keep at bay terrorists and other subversive elements who might try to interfere with the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections due next year, a top Army officer said.
"We are not concerned if people vote or not. However, there is no doubt that terrorists might try to interfere with the election process and we will ensure that they do not get the space to carry out their evil designs," General officer Commanding of the Army`s 15 Corps Lt Gen Gurmit Singh said.
The Corps Commander said there was desperation among the militant ranks across the Line of Control to push in as many ultras into the Valley as possible ahead of the elections.
"From election perspective, next three to four months are very critical. The terrorists will try to subvert the elections and for that they need to reinforce their numbers in the Valley," he said.
According to Lt Gen Singh, the Army will carry out area- domination exercise, especially in rural areas of Kashmir, to keep at bay the militants and other subversive elements.
He said the Army has no direct role to play in the elections in Kashmir but it would ensure a conducive atmosphere for those willing to cast votes.
"We are an apolitical organisation and do not play any direct role in conduct of elections anywhere in the country, including Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Separatists in the past have accused the Army and other security forces of forcing people to cast votes in order to boost the credibility of elections in Kashmir.
Lt Gen Singh said the recent infiltration bid in Keran sector was a new strategy by militant handlers in Pakistan to push in large number of ultras into the Valley from multiple points with the aim of taking the security grid by surprise.
"Due to the excellent counter-infiltration grid in place, we have been able to thwart this new methodology they (Pakistani handlers of militants) wanted to try," he said.
The Corps Commander said the Keran infiltration bid in September was a departure from the tactics used by militants in the past as only small groups of two to three ultras would try to sneak across the Line of Control.