New Delhi: To prevent terrorists from using funeral processions for recruiting youth in their groups, the security forces are controlling the number of people who attend these so called “martyrdom ceremonies” and the number of prayers that are offered for these killed terrorists in the Kashmir valley, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat told MyNation.

Hitting out strongly against Pakistan-supported terrorist groups for carrying out beheadings and killings of youth on video, the Army Chief said such acts show the frustration of the tanzeems operating in the valley and this will lead to peace ultimately as the Kashmiri people have never supported this kind of “barbarism”.

“As I said that these places (funeral processions of terrorists) are recruiting zones for terrorists. While we do not want to deny this aspect… (of giving) the bodies to near and dear ones, but yes, controlling the number of people who attend these janazas (funeral processions) and the number of times that prayers are being read for terrorists who die, I mean that is being controlled and we are succeeding to a large extent,” Gen Rawat told MyNation.

The chief was asked on the measures that can be taken by the security forces to stop people from attending funeral processions of terrorists to stop them from recruiting more youth into their fold.

The chief said that “action is at hand and gradually we will see that the number of people joining these so called martyrdom ceremonies will come down.”

Asked whether the forces can have controlled burials like if the families are not handed over the dead bodies of terrorists, the chief said the Army does not follow such a policy as it was not following a “muscular policy” in Kashmir.

“We are not following a muscular policy and why I say this is because even when we kill a terrorist who has taken up arms against us, imagine that we return the body to the family and allow his near and dear ones to cremate it. When we go to such limits, how can we call it a muscular policy. What we are trying to say is that the Indian Army is not against you. Indian Army is here for you and bringing peace. We are here to support you,” Gen Rawat said.

On the videos being released by terrorists in ISIS-style where youth can be seen getting beheaded or shot dead, the Army Chief said this was merely frustration on part of the terror tanzeems as they had initially started with burning panchayats and then resorted to killing policemen but had to stop doing so due to protests by the locals.

“People in Kashmir often say that they don’t have jobs but on the hand they were asking policemen to come back home. That also did not find favour with the people of Kashmir. So, now they have changed the trend and they have started targeting the unemployed youth as there is nothing to lose,” he said.

Gen Rawat said “when you (terrorists) carry out acts like this, the people themselves would rise against the terrorists. I think this is a grave mistake committed by terrorists and this possibly could lead to peace ultimately in the valley. I think people will realise and shun terrorism and shun terrorists and may actually stop youth from joining terrorism. This is barbarism and the Kashmiris have never believed in this.”

On the success of the security forces in eliminating over 200 terrorists for over last two to three years, the chief said the force has gone after the terrorists in a big way as it has to “ensure that their numbers are controlled within manageable limits. It is also to send across a message to the youth and terrorists of Kashmir that if you join terrorism and the manner in which you are being pushed to join terrorism, your survival would not be for long.” He said the only option before the terrorists was to either surrender or face the kind of action that is being taken by the troops.

The Chief said the troops operate with great restraint during counter-terrorist operations and use only small arms for these actions. “Very rarely we use rocket launchers and that is also used when the adversary uses it. Otherwise we are using small arms to carry out our counter terrorism operations.”