“Unlike Kashmir, you do not see bunkers here, people roam at night in peace. We want the same peaceful environment in Jammu and Kashmir too so that you can fearlessly go to schools and madrassas,” the Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat told a group of madrassa (Islamic seminary) students from Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi.
The 25-member group was in Delhi as part of a “national integration tour being conducted by the Army,” news agency PTI reported.
It said the Army chief “warmly shook hands with all the students and accompanying teachers and asked them what difference they found between Delhi and Kashmir.”
“Unlike Kashmir, you do not see bunkers here, people roam at night in peace. We want the same peaceful environment in Jammu and Kashmir too so that you can fearlessly go to schools and madrassas . Kashmir valley is equated with the heavens, and if you want that land to flourish, we must stop terrorism,” Rawat was quoted by PTI as telling the students.
He also said the message of peace and harmony was “beautifully portrayed” in the holy Quran and “people often do not understand its essence.”
Interacting with the group of madrassa students at his office in New Delhi, Gen. Rawat also asked them to pick up sports like cricket and football and work towards containing terrorism so that Kashmir valley flourishes again.
“How many of you have read the holy Quran?” Gen Rawat asked the students.
“I will tell you what is the message in it. It is the message of peace and harmony (‘Aman ka paigam hai’). And, it has been beautifully portrayed in it. And, all this noise made by the IS, it is nowhere mentioned in Quran (‘Ye jo IS ka halla hai na, yeh Quran mey kahin nahin hai’) ,” he said.
“So, you must follow the message embedded in the holy text. You think people understand the message. We do not properly understand it. In simple ways, Quran has given the lessons (on human values),” Gen. Rawat asserted.
The students, aged 13-22, arrived in New Delhi on December 12.
Rawat suggested that they take up cricket and football and engage themselves in constructive activities.
“Play cricket and football, but I hear that the youth there play hide-and-seek with weapons (‘hathiyar ke saath chor-sipahi’),” he said.
Abdul Hameed, 13, from Panjgram village in Jammu, said, “I am very happy to be in Delhi. I have never travelled out of Jammu. And for the first time I travelled in a train.”
A senior Army official said the group visited Taj Mahal on Wednesday and on Friday they will go to see Red Fort and Jama Masjid, according to the PTI report.
During the trip, the students also visited the National Science Centre in Delhi, the official said, adding: “Today, we will take them for a metro ride.”
“In Agra, they also prayed at a mosque, and tomorrow, they will also offer prayers at the Jama Masjid. And, in the evening, we will take a train back to the state,” he said.
37-year-old teacher Abdul Majid, accompanying the students, said, “We will return and spread the message of peace (‘Paigam-e-Aman’) back home as the Quran says.”
According to the PTI , the Army has adopted a “tough approach against militants in Kashmir valley and stepped up its counter-terror operations in the last six months.”
“The Army has also been carrying out various activities including organising national integration tours for youths of the state as part of efforts to reach out to the local residents.”