The chief of the Indian Army's Northern Command, Lt Gen Devraj Anbu, on Wednesday snubbed politicians for trying to give a communal colour to the militant attacks in Sunjuwan and Karan Nagar during the weekend and quoted media reports to say that 192 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Indian retaliation across the border in the last one year.
Lt Gen Anbu said 185-200 militants in the south and 190-225 in north of the Pir Panjal range were waiting to infiltrate across the LoC and added that the Army will not be "cowed down by small incidents" like fidayeen attacks. "We need to address this trend. Last year, we focused on the leadership of militantists and we were able to eliminate many of them", he said. Pointing out that Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are all hand in glove with each other, he advocated sustained counter-insurgency operations. "We don't communalise martyrs, those making statements don't know the Army well", he said.
"But to our fear and concern, the local terrorists taking up arms continue to increase and you know there are a large number of reasons for that, whether it is social, economic, political, religious...", the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Northern Command said.
Swamy's rhetorical poser to Owaisi was the latest in a stream of backlash the AIMIM chief has faced for underscoring the fact that five of the six Armymen who laid down their lives in the Sunjuwan attack were Kashmiri Muslims.
"The so-called "9 pm" nationalists (those who appear in prime time tv debates) question the nationalism of Muslims and Kashmiri Muslims", Owaisi said in Hyderabad. Just a few days back, Owaisi while speaking in the Parliament during the Budget Session had asked the government to frame a law of giving punishment to those who call Indian Muslims as Pakistanis. "But there are people in our country who doubt our loyalties", Mr. Owaisi said. "I do not feel that we really need to do tit for tat".
He said the social media had been used extensively to spread separatist sentiment among the youth. "While immediately behind the borders we have strengthened ourselves and we are very well prepared, it picked up soft targets", he said.