Lt Gen Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon who used verses from the Holy Quran to make scores of Kashmiri youth return to their families and give up terrorism is being remembered by people across the Valley as he hung his boots on Monday after serving the country for 39 years.
“Do good and serve your mother, and then your father,” Gen Dhillon would often quote this verse from the Quran at the rallies of the youth in south Kashmir to make a point that they have responsibilities towards their family, especially mothers, instead of picking the gun for a cause that suits a foreign country.
Gen Tiny Dhillon, as he is popularly called had taken over the reins of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps (XV Corps)when hordes of local youth in South Kashmir had enlisted to become terrorists and radicalization was at its peak. This situation had been brewing in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Poster boy Burhan Wani in 2016. Wani a young man, was not as much a lethal terrorist as his presence on social media had glamourized the gun and terror. Gen Tony Dhillion launched operation “Maa” to make Kashmiri women play a role in getting their misguided sons back home.
He would interact with the mothers of the youth who were believed to have joined the ranks of terrorist groups and work out strategies to get them back home. The mothers were assured that their sons would get amnesty and be rehabilitated in strict confidence. The operation was launched in cooperation with the Police.
This has helped at least 50 mothers in south Kashmir to get back their sons from the brink of death. A majority of the local youth get killed within a short time after joining militancy.
Lt Gen KJS Dhillon retired on Monday from the post of Director General Defence Intelligence Agency and Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Intelligence). The occasion revived his links with Kashmir as the youth of Kashmir praised him as the most “lovable General.”
Touseef Raina, a young leader who was elected Chaiman of the Baramulla Municipal Council, had paid his tribute to Lt Gen Dhillon on Twitter:
Mr. @Tiny_Dhillon saheb is one of the most talented generals in the Indian Army & will always be GRAND as a national will for victory. A conscientious man has had a great love of Kashmir, its natural beauty, its culture, its heritage and, above all, its inhabitants. 1— Touseef Raina (@Touseefraina) January 30, 2022
He did more than this in Kashmir to help the youth get out of the clutches of Pakistan-backed terror groups and stooges and improve the Army-Public relationship.
During a massive and unprecedented lockdown including that on internet and telephone services for a month following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, Gen Dhillon directed the army to launch a service “Khariat patrol.” Under this, the army men would go door to door offering people to make urgent calls to connect with their loved ones.
This gave a huge relief to people, who were feeling isolated and desperate as the government wanted to ensure no violence takes place and lives are saved through a clampdown on the internet and mobile telephony.
He initiated projects to support the youth get involved in the cultural and sports festivals across Kashmir. Earlier the Army carried out civic projects under Operation Sadbhavana (Goodwill). He extended this project to help youth live happily and thrive in a cheerful environment.
Wajahat Farooq Bhat, a young Kashmir and a former stone pelter who now works with the youth of Kashmir to gets them out of the
deradicalisation and drugs has called Gen Dhillon his mentor:
Good wishes to mentor and well wisher of #Kashmiri Youth @Tiny_Dhillon Sir. He is someone, Who has a deep roots among #Kashmiri people and he alway strives to see kahsmiris Prosper . He is an institution itself to whom we are Indebted in multiple ways. 1/n pic.twitter.com/6ikbA8nQQI— Wajahat Farooq Bhat (@Wajahatfarooqbt) January 31, 2022
His famous quote on the killing of one of the masterminds of Pulwama terror attack - a Pakistan whose code name was Ghazi - “Kitne Ghazi aaye aur kitne gaye, hum yahin hain dekh lenge sabko (Many such terrorists have come and gone, we stand where we are rock solid),” made at the press conference in Srinagar had gone viral on social media.
The statement that received a record number of hits and likes on YouTube and Twitter, was seen as a reflection of the army’s resolve in fighting terrorism along the Line of Control and also the hinterland of Kashmir. It made him a kind of hero with the youth.
Lt Gen KJS Dhillon also launched “Talim se taraqqui” (Development through education) as it was during his tenure the Army Goodwill schools across Kashmir were modernized with the help of CSR funds from the Corporates. The Army also started coaching for entrance to the engineering and medical colleges for students of poor families and this resulted in the successes of many youths.