People of Kashmir took the scrapping of Article 370 in a "positive manner" as there was relative peace for a long time but Pakistan is on a "hyperdrive" on peddling a false narrative to keep the pot boiling in the valley, a top army officer said on Monday.
"Starting from the situation post abrogation of Article 370, I think the population took the decision in a positive manner. We saw relative peace for a fairly long period of time," Lt Gen B S Raju, heading the strategic XV corps, told reporters in Awantipora, 33 km from Srinagar.
Flanked by General Officer Commanding of Army's South Kashmir based Victor Force Major General A Sengupta and Inspector General of Central Reserve Police Force, Gen Raju, who was talking to media following killing of nine terrorists in two encounters in Shopian district in less than 24 hours, said normalcy was almost back in the valley by February this year.
"January-February people had begun to move around, schools had opened up, winter tourism had commenced in Gulmarg. So we were seeing all signs of normalcy before the issue of COVID-19 came in and we had to go into another round of lockdown....only to save lives," he added.
Gen Raju said Pakistan was "not happy" with the peaceful situation in the valley.
"Pakistan is unhappy because it is in its larger plan to keep the pot boiling in the valley. That is how the relevance of the Pakistan army remains within Pakistan. As far as Pakistan's contribution to violence here is concerned, it is a combination of two things -- on the physical front inducting weapons along the Line of Control and, the second is, the information warfare Pakistan intends to fight," he said.
Gen Raju appealed to people not to get swayed by the misinformation that is coming from Pakistan.
"This is very important. Pakistan is on a hyperdrive to bring in false propaganda. If there is one person who is not happy today as to what is happening in the valley in terms of peace is Pakistan. So we need to fight that.
"I would say that 120 crore of the country's population have a role to play in demolishing false narratives, which are coming from Pakistan. While we are fighting on ground, we will definitely look forward to the cooperation of the public and the population in general to spread the right message and demolish the false narratives," he added.