Restoring peace in J&K has been the top priory of both the administration and security forces. Lt. General Devendra Pratap Pandey who commanded the strategic Kashmir-based 15 Corps, played a crucial role in maintaining peace and stability in Kashmir.
Lt Gen DP Pandey was appointed as the commander of Srinagar's Chinar Corps in February 2021, a critical phase for Kashmir when it was ravaged by increased terrorism and COVID-19 pandemic. His remarkable stint has now come to an end as Lt Gen Pandey handed over the command of GoC Chinar Corps to Lt. Gen. Amardeep Singh Aujla on Monday.
Lt Gen DP Pandey's stint in Kashmir
On one hand, Pakistan sponsored terrorism was at its peak, targeted killings of civilians and policemen shook the nation - all while the world was battling the deadly COVID-19. Amidst these challenges, Lt Gen Pandey rose up to the occasion and deployed necessary efforts to restore normalcy in Kashmir.
"The tenure has been defined by an improved security environment prevailing at the Line of Control, as well as in hinterland. With the Civil Administration and Security Forces synergizing their efforts to bring normalcy back to Kashmir, terrorism is on decline with assessed residual terrorist numbers reduced to an all-time low," an official statement by the Army read.
"A dynamic deployment along the Line of Control integrated by technical intelligence and robust anti-infiltration grid ensured drastically reduced infiltration. The opportunity afforded by the Ceasefire Violation agreement resulted in renewed attempts to bring succour to the local population residing along the Line of Control," the Army added.
Lt. Gen. Pandey ensured an improved soldier-citizen connect. His impromptu visits to Sopore, Shopian, Dardpora, Trehgam and remote areas of Kashmir enhanced his rapport with the populace.
This effort also included many successful events all over the Kashmir Valley, co-opting the citizens in various sports, culture, arts, education, skilling and health initiatives. The General Officer strongly propounded for a second chance to the misguided youth to bring them back from the brink, as he believes this to be critical in achieving lasting peace in J&K. The 'Sahi Raasta' programme impacted the cognitive mindspace of the youth, aligning them to the mainstream.
"In the hinterland, all elements of Security Forces were synergized to break the cycle of violence. Relentless operations, in tandem with Jammu & Kashmir Police and other CAPFs, based on hard intelligence were carried out to neutralise terrorists, with minimum collateral damage and zero civilian fatalities. The approach also included outreach to families, including those of active terrorists to minimise recruitment and induce surrenders amongst local terrorists," the Army explained.
In order to curb the menace of radicalisation of the youth in the Valley, the GoC introduced various programmes and initiatives, through which the youth could showcase their talent in various fields ranging from sports to cultural arenas. Lt Get Pandey's rapport with the youth ignited minds to think beyond 'Problems in Kashmir', and gave voice to popular sentiment – through Seminars, Josh Talks and Debates.
"The efforts have borne fruits, with the terrorist number dwindling to an all-time low of 150," the Army said.
Lt Gen Pandey's contribution to peace and stability in Kashmir was recognised by the award of the prestigious 'Uttam Yudh Seva Medal' (UYSM) by President Ram Nath Kovind on Jan 26, 2022.
In his farewell message, Lt Gen Pandey complimented all ranks of Chinar Corps for their dedication and hard work. He appreciated JKP, CAPFs, Civil administration and the community members for their relentless support in the joint effort towards peace and prosperity in J&K. He conveyed his greetings and best wishes to the citizens of Kashmir and the entire Chinar Corps fraternity.