There should be no civilian casualties at encounter sites: MHA to forces

Srinagar: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked the security agencies to ensure that no harm whatsoever is done to the common masses while carrying out anti-militancy operations in the state.

One of the top officials of the MHA told news agency KNS that the senior officers of different security agencies were asked to avoid civilian killings and carry out anti-militancy operations without any collateral damage.

He said that Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also asked the heads of various security agencies to “deal sternly” with militants.

“We need to deal with the militants strictly but there should be no civilian causalities at the encounter sites. A close synergy between forces is a must for ensuring smooth anti-militancy operations,” the Home Minister, according to sources, has said while discussing law and order in the state.

Sources said that Singh has also instructed the CRPF and BSF to explore the possibility of conducting special recruitment drives in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The MHA is closely monitoring the law and order situation of Jammu and Kashmir. MHA has directed the security forces not to give any chance to militants to take advantage of the situation when crowds rush to encounter sites to help them escape,” the official maintained.

Meanwhile sources said that army has also asked police not to let crowds come close to encounter sites to avoid civilian casualties as they (Army) does not carrying mob control weapons.

“Our job is not to deal with the crowd since we are not carrying non-lethal weapons. It is the police and para-military forces who are carrying weapons to disperse the mob,” an Army officer said told KNS wishing anonymity.

Meanwhile a senior police official told KNS that the police have already issued an advisory, asking people to stay away from encounter sites.

“It is for the safety of the people not to create obstructions’ in anti-militancy operations,” he said.

Since February 2016, the police had cautioned people many times through an advisory, asking them to stay away from the encounter sites to ensure no civil causality. Despite that people have been rushing to encounter sites in a bid to help militants to escape.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said that people creating hurdles during anti-militancy operations and displaying flags of Pakistan and ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir will be dealt as “anti-nationals and will face harsh actions”.

He had said those supporting militant activities are being given an opportunity but if they continue with their acts then forces will come down hard on them.

(With inputs from KNS)



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