New Delhi: The use of some mosques for spreading anti-India propaganda among the youth in the Kashmir valley is a cause for concern nationwide. The Army is trying to address the issue by directly engaging with the youth there, a top Indian Army commander in-charge of counter terrorism operations has said.

Having already broken the back of terrorist organisations, including Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, by killing over 200 terrorists this year, 15 Corps Commander’s Lt Gen Anil Bhatt said the troops were directly targeting the top leadership of terror groups along with their support network of over ground workers and separatists — in an exclusive interaction with MyNation.

"The mosques in Kashmir are being used for spreading anti-India propaganda through lies like ‘Islam is under threat’. Some local, lower rung maulvis use it against us. This is a wrong thing but we are tackling it by engaging with the youth," Lt Gen Bhatt said.

He said the Army is running programmes where the youth are being engaged in sports and cultural activities to divert their attention from getting involved with the Pakistan-backed terrorist elements.

The 15 Corps Commander, who has served also as the director general of military operations at the Army headquarters, said the force was trying to give space to the rational elements in the Kashmir society so that the narrative imposed by the terrorist groups and the separatists like the Hurriyat Conference could be changed. Everyone is heard, the officer said.

Lt Gen Bhatt said the over-ground workers (OGWs) of terrorist outfits are being targeted. Several of them, including Asiya Andrabi, have been apprehended by the agencies concerned including the National Investigation Agency.

The lieutenant general said these OGWs and other elements radicalised the youth.

On the killing of over 200 terrorists this year till November, Bhatt said the security forces had been trying to directly take out anyone who assumed a leadership role in these groups. He said the Lashkar and Jaish had been the main targets of the security forces as, this very year, 30-40% of their cadre have been eliminated in different encounters.