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SOURCE: GREATER KASHMIR

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the Central government is keeping a tab on the growing number of youth joining militancy in Kashmir.

“We are keeping an eye on recruitment. We are also focusing on what is motivating them to join militant ranks and who is behind influencing them. Also, we are able to kill militants on the borders itself,” Sitharaman said at a press conference here on Friday.

Reacting to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres backing the call for an international probe into the alleged human rights situation in Kashmir, Defence Minister said it had ignored realities how the Indian Army had been exercising maximum restraint in fighting militants and curbing protests in Jammu and Kashmir.

She said the fact that security forces render humanitarian assistance to victims of violence in the state had also been overlooked by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in his report that was “prepared sitting somewhere else”.

“The assessment made is without basis. If only they see what is on the ground, the Indian Army has been exercising the highest restraint (shown by any army) in dealing with militants, protesters in Jammu and Kashmir,” Sitharaman said here.

“It (the Army) has set up schools, trained boys and girls for higher education, made youth from the state to travel to the rest of India. All that has been ignored.”

Asked about Guterres backing report and calling it the voice of the UN, Sitharaman said India didn’t expect the world body chief to respond otherwise to the report written from “comfort zones”.