People in Jammu and Kashmir are now saying that they will “lynch terrorists”, which is a “positive sign”, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat told Times Now on Thursday.
Asked about civilian killings in Kashmir, Rawat said anyone who is carrying out a terror attack is being “eliminated or apprehended” within 48 hours.
“Locals are giving information about terrorists,” he said at the Times Now Summit. “Now they are saying they will lynch the terrorists, which is a very positive sign that is coming in. If there is a terrorist operating in your area, why should you not lynch him?”
Rawat added: “You go to social media. There are statements coming out where locals are saying that, if you [the police and security forces] want, we will lynch the terrorists because we will not allow this [terror attacks] to happen.”
In the last month, militants have killed 11 civilians in Jammu and Kashmir. The Resistance Front, believed to be an offshoot of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, has claimed responsibility for most of them.
The chief of defence staff said earlier, the “fear of the gun” stopped the people from disclosing information about terrorists.
“But now they are coming out to say, ‘Either we will lynch them, or we will make arrangements that they get lynched.’ ”Rawat claimed. “Whether this is a message for the terrorists or whether it is being played up by intelligence agencies, I would say it is a good card that is being played.”
On India-China tensions
Rawat on Thursday denied reports that China has built a village on Indian territory, Times Now reported.
However, he acknowledged that China has carried out construction along the Line of Actual Control, but it is well within its territory.
“The Chinese are building villages possibly for billeting and locating their civilians or for their military in the future all along the LAC, particularly after the recent face-offs that we have had,” he said at the Times Now Summit.
Rawat added: “But the present controversy that has erupted that the Chinese have come across into our territory and built a new village is not true.”
China has built a new village of about 101 homes in Arunachal Pradesh, NDTV reported in January.
The Pentagon report, titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2021”, which was released earlier in November, also spoke about the village.
On Thursday, Rawat said China was building villages within its territory for its soldiers.
“Chinese soldiers are isolated, they are living thousands of miles away from the mainland,” he said at the Times Now Summit. “Our soldiers get to go home twice or thrice a year. Chinese soldiers don’t have that luxury. So they [China] are building these kind of villages, which are well within their side of the LAC. They have not transgressed anywhere on our perception of LAC.”
But the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that China had undertaken construction activities in areas that it has “illegally occupied over decades”.
“India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims,” foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said at a press briefing.
Bagchi added that the Centre had taken note of the Pentagon report on China’s construction activities in the eastern part of India.
India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June last year. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China put the number of casualties on its side at four.
After several rounds of talks, India and China had disengaged from Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh in February. After the commander level talks on July 31, the two countries also agreed to disengage from Gogra.
The two countries had held the 13th round of military talks on October 10. But there was no breakthrough.
India made constructive suggestions to resolve the tensions, but the Chinese side “was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals”, the Indian Army had said.