NEW DELHI — Reiterating his stand that stone is as lethal as gun in Kashmir Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday again equated stone-pelters in Kashmir with militants.

He also discredited the sense of alienation and resentment among Kashmiris for the Indian army as a false impression created by the media.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18 Saturday night, General Bipin Rawat said the “terrorists are feeding a wrong impression” of India to the Kashmiris and that the people in the valley live under the “fear of terrorists”.

Speaking on the issue of stone-pelting, Rawat said “The forces lose their calm only when there is a question of an appropriate reaction to the stone-pelters.”

“The question is – how should the army react? We avoid using guns in cases of stone pelting, because we are answerable in the court of law. But in today’s time, a stone is as lethal as a rifle,” he asserted.

“When my men face dilemma as how would they respond to stone pelting, I tell them you can’t pelt stones in return, use arms”, Rawat said adding that the army cannot be disrupted in its attempts to bring law and order.

General Rawat’s comments come on a day when seven civilians lost their lives when troops opened fire on protesters near an encounter site in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.