NEW DELHI: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday asked how is it wrong to call stone pelters as Over Ground Workers of terrorists after a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer was killed in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir.
"The Jawan who lost his life after being attacked by stone pelters was guarding a border roads team which was constructing roads, and then we have some people saying don't treat stone pelters like OGWs(over ground workers) of terrorists," he said.
He also attacked Pakistan for supporting terror activities and cautioned that Indian Army is fully capable of giving a suitable reply. "Pakistan is fully aware they can never succeed, terror is another way by them to keep the pot boiling. They want to stall development in Kashmir but Indian state is strong enough to counter everything, and we are fully capable of carrying out different operations," the Army chief said.
The stern warning from the Army chief comes after CISF ASI Rajesh Kumar lost his life after terrorists lobbed a grenade on him when he was deployed for security of a power grid at Wagoora Nowgam in Srinagar, late on Friday night. The attack was, however, successfully repulsed by the alert sentry at the spot.
"In the intervening night, a standoff fire by terrorists took place at the grid Station Wagoora in Budgam district in which one ASI of CISF sustained serious bullet injuries. The injured ASI Rajendra Prasad was evacuated to the hospital for medical attention but succumbed to his injuries at the hospital," a police spokesman had said.
General Rawat had in the past said that Kashmiris are being fed with misinformation that India was anti-Muslim. "They try to shield terrorists. They pelt stones as it is easily available. (Stone-)pelting is not (something) new. Unemployment is a factor for this, but it is not unique to Kashmir. There is unemployment in other parts of the country as well. Youngsters there don't pelt stones. Education there (Kashmir) is shattered. Most of the schooling is done through madrasas, which cannot get you good jobs."
He had also said that Army had two ways of dealing with the situation. "The harsh way or the other way is to make them understand that what they are doing is wrong," he said said.