On Tuesday, Rawat met with Kashmiri students of the Super 40 program who cleared the JEE - Advanced exam this year. Photograph: (Twitter)
Army chief General Bipin Rawat, who has so far been very "tough" on Kashmir, seemingly began a bit of a Kashmir outreach program on Tuesday.
Rawat has so far said stone pelters in Kashmir getting in the way of army operations will be treated as "overground terrorists". (The people of Kashmir have of late taken to pelting army personnel with stones, even as the armymen have been conducting military operations against militants.)
And Rawat has also awarded Major Leetul Gogoi -- the man who tied a local Kashmiri to the front of an army jeep, again to deter stone pelters -- the Army chief's commendation award for conter-insurgency services rendered.
Rawat has so far been backed by the central government.
The intelligentsia however have taken the opposing view with one academic, the historian Partha Chatterjee, comparing him to General Dyer.
But on Tuesday, Rawat tried to show his softer side.
ANI reported that Rawat met Tuesday with Kashmiri students of the Super 40 programme who cleared their Joint Entrance Examination - Advanced (JEE - Advanced) this year.
The JEE is the entrance exam for the country's engineering colleges.
ANI reported that the Super 40 Programme, known as Super 30 in 2013-14, started with the aim of coaching 30 students from Kashmir preparing for IIT main exams. In 2016, the number rose to 40.
ANI reported that General Rawat congratulated the students, and said he hoped the students would serve Kashmir.
"Few amongst you will become the District Magistrates and SDMs. And you will be able to help the other children," he told them.
ANI reported that Major General RP Kalitha, under whose supervision this initiative is being conducted, lauded the Kashmiri students for their exemplary handwork and dedication towards their studies.
"The Youth of Kashmir are very intelligent and hard working, and with the facilities that were provided, gradually the results also improved from 2013. This year in the main exams, 26 boys and two girls cleared and in the Advanced phase, nine boys cleared the exam.
"I think it is a great result since the institute is only three year old," he said.
General Kalitha further said that the programme was gearing up to intake 50 students, including 45 boys and five girls.
The initiative is jointly financed by the Corporate Social Responsibility Leadership and PETRONET LNG, Ministry of Petroleum.
The girls were coached at Noida and the boys in Srinagar.