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Stone-pelters bend down, get hit by pellets in eye, we aim at legs: CDS Bipin Rawat

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States sponsoring terrorism should be diplomatically isolated and made to face “hard action”, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said, making a reference to Pakistan on Thursday while speaking at an event in Delhi.

Speaking for the first time at a public platform after taking over as CDS, Gen Rawat was part of a panel discussion on terrorism.

Commenting on the usage of pellet guns in Kashmir, CDS Gen Bipin Rawat said that the non-lethal weapon is “sparingly used” in Kashmir and even then they are aimed at the legs.

Gen Rawat said those throwing stones face action. “Stones can cause death. Now we cannot be throwing stones back at them. Pellet guns are non lethal weapons and are fired at the legs,” he said.

He clarified that most of the eye injuries are caused because those pelting stones bend to the ground to pick up stones and because pellet guns are fired at the legs they get hit them in the eyes.

Speaking on tackling terrorism, Gen Rawat said isolation of terror-sponsoring states in a solution. “States that use terrorists as proxies, fund them have to be isolated. Anybody sponsoring terrorism has to be taken to task. Hard action needs to be taken,” Gen Rawat said.

When asked by the moderator if he was referring to Pakistan, Gen Rawat answered in the affirmative.

“Diplomatic isolation like blacklisting by FATF is a good step. There needs to be acceptability that they are sponsors of terror,” he added.

Answering a question on radicalization, he said it can be countered if in the initial stages.

“It starts from schools, universities, religious schools places. In Kashmir there is radicalisation among boys and girls who are 10-12 yrs. These young kids can be isolated from radicalisation. We have de-radicalisation camps. Pakistan is also doing this now,” he said.

Denying that Indian Army uses harsh methods on civilians in Kashmir, Gen Rawat said that there is a lot of misinformation regarding this.

“There is an impression being created that Indian Army is high-handed in Kashmir. We are not using hard tactics. We had to use hard tactics in the 90s not anymore. If we were using hard tactics we wouldn’t be suffering casualties and blow up any place where we suspected terrorists were living, we are not doing that.”

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