Need women in combat role to deal with female stone-pelters: Army chief

DEHRADUN: Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Saturday that with more women, especially in the Kashmir Valley, taking to violent protestslike stone-pelting, it has become imperative for women soldiers to do combat dutiesas male personnel hesitate to tackle agitators from the fairer sex.

“We have women in various service arms, like signals, engineers and air defence, as officers, but now the time has come to recruit them as jawans. At times, we are faced with situations in conflict areas where jawans hesitate to deal with women protesters. This is where we require assistance from the women police constables. But if we have our own women jawans then we would become more efficient. The plan now is to recruit women jawans in the military police and depending on the success of this pilot project, we would move ahead,” Gen Rawat said.

 Answering a question on the ongoing unrest in Kashmir, General Rawat claimed youth in the Valley are being instigated through a campaign of misinformation on so cial media. “Youth in Kashmir are being instigated by a misinformation campaign on social media,” he said, adding, “Pakistan is spreading disinformation among the youth of Kashmir with doctored videos and messages. This is further supported by some of the people in the Valley who spread it and glamorise the young boys who have joined terro rist organisations.”
The Army chief said, “We are trying to make them surrender their arms and work for the benefit of the Valley.Also, counter-infiltration measures have been taken in the past few days which have proven to be successful.”

Speaking about the need for use of technology in the Army , Rawat said, “These days various terrorist outfits are using technology to find ways to create conflict in Kashmir Valley and other areas. What we need to do is keep ourselves updated so as to predict their actions. We also need to make technology available to the jawans using which it would be possible (for us) to track down suspected terrorists without troubling the people of the region by questioning them or by carrying out searches in their houses.”

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