Army adopts local measures to win hearts in valley | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Army adopts local measures to win hearts in valley

chandigarh Updated: Aug 13, 2012 12:42 IST
Peerzada Ashiq
Peerzada Ashiq
Hindustan Times
Khan suit

Khan suit, a local attire, wazwan (a seven-course meal) and namaz are new weapons of the Indian Army to strike a chord with people in the valley, where the two decades of militancy has created a chasm between the two.

Wearing a khan suit and traditional Karakul (rabbit fur's cap), general officer commanding (GOC) of strategic 15 Corps Lt general Om Prakash organised an iftar, where Muslims break daylong fast in Ramzan, at Badamibagh Cantonment area in Srinagar on Saturday evening.

"As we all prayed with Imam sahib, there should be peace in Kashmir," said Prakash after participating in Muslim rituals and prayers with Imam (priest) on the occasion of iftar.

"Besides the GOC and chief of staff, several officers had also got stitched similar suits for the occasion," said colonel Brijesh Pandey.

Conspicuously, Prakash joined the namaz prayers in the first row with the members of civil society and journalists. Prakash followed the Muslim rituals of performing the prayers.

After traditional way of breaking the fast with dates and juices, the GOC squatted on the floor for dinner in a trami, a round copper plate that accommodates four people from four sides simultaneously in Kashmiri dinner parties.

Prakash was following the 'doctrine' of recently transferred GOC of 15 Corps Lt general Atta Muhammad Hasnain.

"After years of experimentation with winning hearts, the current strategy in Jammu and Kashmir, 'Heart as my Weapon', seems to have found resonance with the people. In counter insurgency environment, people are the centre of gravity of the operations. If they are dealt with due diligence and empathy, the security forces can gain a huge upper hand as part of their psychological operations campaign to win hearts and keep them. This directly impacts on operational results as insurgents find themselves helpless without popular support," wrote Hasnain in his recent article for a website.