Do not have de-radicalisation camps of any kind: Gen Naravane

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New Delhi, Mar 25 (PTI) Army chief Gen MM Naravane on Thursday said no de-radicalisation camps of any kind existed in Jammu and Kashmir, noting that the focus of the government was to increase education and employment avenues for youths of the union territory.

Speaking at the India Economic Conclave, Gen Naravane also said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved significantly.

'We do not have any de-radicalisation camps of any kind. So, I don't think we should get that impression that we are herding any local people together in some camps somewhere and trying to brainwash them,' he said.

'Nothing like that is happening on the ground. But yes the youths are prone to join the militant ranks for various reasons, including, you know it is a very romantic kind of a thing to hold a gun, take your photo and put it out on social media. So that remains a concern,' the Army chief added.

His remarks came in response to a question that had reference to de-radicalisation camps and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir Gen Naravane also listed the steps for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir such as opening up avenues for education outside the union territory and increasing employment opportunities for them as part of efforts to deal with the situation.

'If your basic needs are being met, then nobody will join the ranks of the militants and that is where the focus is now. It is not just by the Army but by the government as a whole,' he said.

In January last year, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said de-radicalisation camps are operating in the country as it is necessary to isolate people who are completely radicalised.

Gen Rawat made the comments while delving into the situation in Kashmir.

To a question, the Army chief said radicalisation does have a religious slant to it, but not as much as people would like to believe.

'I think the people of Jammu and Kashmir know what is good for them. They are also under the shadow of the guns and sometimes are forced into a particular direction or forced to make certain statements because the security forces cannot be everywhere all the time,' he said.

'We have to follow the laws of the land; the terrorists do not (have to). Therefore, their power to coax and extract a particular kind of behaviour from the population will always be slightly more,' Gen Naravane added. PTI MPB AAR AAR