New Delhi: The charges against the Army about human rights violations in Kashmir and violent night raids in civilian areas are not true, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat told ThePrint, challenging that those levelling such allegations come forward with the “victims”.
Rawat said that some of the gruesome pictures that have come out in foreign media reports and on social media seem to be “photoshopped”.
“This is completely untrue. When I came to know of the allegations, I instantly checked with our units and commanders in Kashmir. I can clearly say that no civilian was tortured by the Army and neither were any night raids carried out in which civilians were harassed,” Rawat told ThePrint in an exclusive interview at the Army Headquarters in South Block.
When asked what would happen if the “victims” come forward, Rawat said he would order a probe.
“If any victim comes forward, I will personally order a full-fledged probe. But I can say for sure that no such action, as has been alleged by some, has taken place,” he said.
Talking about a picture that went viral on social media, showing injuries on the back of a person, the Army chief said it is clearly “photoshopped”.
“The lines are very straight and the same throughout the back. It clearly shows that some marks must have been there, which were then copied and pasted all over the back,” he added.
The picture was first put out by an international media organisation along with a report, but is no longer part of the story.
The BBC, along with several international media organisations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, has reported on the alleged torture of Kashmiris by security forces, especially the Army, following the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K last month.
Kashmiri activist Shehla Rashid had even tweeted that the Army conducted night raids in civilian areas in the Valley and harassed people. She further alleged that the Army tortured civilians in south Kashmir and used loudspeakers to make the rest of the villagers hear the screams of the one who was being tortured.
“One thing that everyone is good at these days is taking videos and pictures. Even encounters are at times shot on video by civilians. So don’t you think if the Army had indeed done what has been alleged, someone would not have captured it on the phone,” he asked.
Rawat said that the Army was involved in counter-terror operations and not in law and order issues. The Army operates with a certain ethos and it values human rights, he added.