Raipur, July 3: The incidents of stone-pelting are happening in Kashmir as a lot of "false information" is being fed to the people of the restive region, especially the youth, through a "propaganda machinery", Army chief General Bipin Rawat today said.
He said this in response to a question from a school student from Chhattisgarh during an interactive session at the South Block here.
"Lot of false information, misinformation is being fed to people in Kashmir, especially the youth, like Kashmir is an independent nation, or that the Army has forcefully occupied the Valley, it is separate nation, separate entity or that India is an anti-Muslim country," Rawat said when asked why stone-pelting incidents were taking place in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Army chief said that propaganda is being spread that Kashmir must "gain independence" from India.
On Maoist situation in Chhattisgarh, one class 12 student asked, what were the demands of the Maoists, to which, the Army chief replied, "It is a conflict of ideology... their demand are not very heavy, and they can be brought to the mainstream."
On stone-pelting, he said, "There are two ways to deal with stone-pelting issues, one is a harsh way, to take action...the other is to make them understand that such acts are not good for the person doing it or for the state itself."
And, so people are being told that if we they want peace in the Valley, then "terrorist activities must stop," he said.
"We conduct national integration tour, and when youth from Kashmir come to Delhi, they see no bunkers, no jawans patrolling the streets. And, they get the message that if peace comes in the Valley, the bunkers and the patrol units will disappear, and life would be normal," Rawat said.
He also said that the incidents of stone-pelting have happened in other places too, like Palestine and Africa.
Twenty students, 17 boys and three girls of DPS, Raigarh, from class 6-12, interacted with Rawat as part of a school tour to understand the Army life better.
During his address, Rawat exhorted the students to work hard and not get disheartened by failures and aspire to join the Army to serve the nation.
"You folks are already wearing green jackets, and after your class 12, I hope many of you will apply to join the army," he said.
Jammu and Kashmir is currently under the governor's rule since June 20, the fourth time in the last one decade, after the BJP withdrew support to its alliance partner PDP, forcing Mehbooba Mufti to resign as the chief minister of the state.
Rawat last week had said that the Army was operating with "people-friendly" rules of engagement in the Valley.
"Our basic purpose is to go after terrorists who create violence and disturbance in the Valley. Our aim is not to cause inconvenience to civilian population who are not indulging in arson or violence," he had said.