Those with separatist feelings have been shown door: Lt Gen BS Raju

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SRINAGAR — Checking the nefarious designs of India’s adversaries across the Line of Control and engaging the youth top the agenda of the new commander of the Army’s strategically located XV Corps, Lt Gen B S Raju believes people nurturing separatist feelings have been shown the door.

For Lieutenant General Baggavalli Somashekar Raju, who took over as the new corps commander on Sunday from Lt Gen K J S Dhillon, his posting in the Kashmir Valley is like a homecoming.

He had earlier served as the brigade commander along the LoC and later, led the ”Victor Force”, a counter-insurgency group of the Army that looks after the militancy-hit south Kashmir region.

“The Army is a friend of every civilian and that message has been conveyed aptly by my predecessor. My every attempt would be to continue this practice,” Lt Gen Raju said after taking over command of the XV Corps.

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On the issue of militancy, Lt Gen Raju, an NDA alumni from the 1984 batch, said it is too early for him to comment, but reports show that militants or separatists are not in control. “I believe that those nurturing separatist feelings have been shown the door,” he said.

Lt Gen Raju, who was heading the ”Victor Force” in the aftermath of the neutralisation of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, is aware of the matter that some people were engaged in distracting the youth from their studies.

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“During my stint, the Army along with other arms of the government will counter this menace on top priority,” he said.

During his earlier stint in Kashmir, Lt Gen Raju had kept children engaged in different sports and creative activities and shown them that soldiers were on their side.

These activities included the Army launching a series of outreach programmes such as sports and painting competitions, distributing stationary, and taking children on treks with packed meals.

On the situation from across the border, the commander said there were indications that the Pakistani army may try to push militants into India. “We are prepared to give them a befitting reply and defeat their nefarious designs,” Lt Gen Raju asserted.

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