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Clampdown claims false : 500 terrorists waiting to sneak into Kashmir, says Army

Clampdown claims false : 500 terrorists waiting to sneak into Kashmir, says Army
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The chief of Army staff General Bipin Rawat on Monday rejected claims of a clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that it was a facade put up by terrorists to project a false picture of "harsh measures" to the outside world.

Chennai: The chief of Army staff General Bipin Rawat on Monday rejected claims of a clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that it was a facade put up by terrorists to project a false picture of "harsh measures" to the outside world.

In reality, the violence and killings were down and the terrorists were being kept at bay, he told reporters.

While communication lines are through for the people, there is a breakdown for handlers of terrorists in Pakistan and their associates in the valley, he said.

Also, arrangements are in place for the security forces to talk to their families and there is no communication breakdown, he said.

"A facade has been created through a fear psychosis... by terrorists" and they want to project to the people of Kashmir and the rest of India that harsh measures were being undertaken which is not the truth and far from reality, he said.

On the claim of closure of shops, he said outlets were being operated through rear doors as terrorists threaten the shopkeepers to down shutters.

Hitting out at Pakistan for state sponsored terrorism and its repeated attempts to push in terrorists, especially after abrogation of Article 370, he said the neighbouring country carried out ceasefire violations to facilitate terrorists' infiltration.

Around 450-500 well-trained terrorists are waiting at terror launch pads to sneak into the Valley as part of Pakistan's design to trigger unrest, military sources said.

With virtually no business being transacted for 50 days, small-scale entrepreneurs and apple traders said they were desperately hoping for an end to the clampdown in the Kashmir Valley and are unable to cope with threats from terror groups.

Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said the central government is focused on the development of Jammu and Kashmir and elections will be held there once the situation returns to normalcy.

The Minister said a survey of about 50,000 temples that are shut in Jammu and Kashmir will begin pujas soon, while plans are also on to open cinema theatres.

The Army's northern commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh briefed Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik about the prevailing security situation and anti-terrorist operations in the state, a spokesman of the Raj Bhavan said.

Lieutenant General Singh met Malik at the Raj Bhavan and briefed him about the overall security situation in forward areas and hinterland and the anti-terrorist operations being conducted by the Army, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party MP Majeed Memon questioned why Army chief is talking about Balakot now and said that he should not become part of the government's poll campaign.

The army chief earlier had said that Balakot has been "reactivated" by Pakistan very recently. "Why he is talking about Balakot now when the election process has started.

So many months have gone by and suddenly he is talking about Balakot. Rawat should not become part of the election campaign of the government. It is not appropriate for him," Memon told reporters.

The NCP leader said, "Pulwama, Balakot and Article 370, are not associated with the upcoming assembly polls. The issues of assembly polls are inflation, unemployment and GDP decline."

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