Take strict action against those who pose a threat to anti-militancy operations: MHA tells forces

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‘However the MHA has also added that civilian killings and collateral damage should be averted during security operations’  

Srinagar: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed forces to deal carefully with the situation in Kashmir, especially during anti-militancy operations and protests to avert civilian killings and collateral damage.

However sources told news agency KNS that the MHA has made it clear to the forces not to hesitate to take strict action against those who create law and order problems and pose threat to anti militancy operations.

One of the top officials of the MHA on condition of anonymity told KNS that the top police and other security officials have been directed to ensure that the forces at the site of gunfights and protests should handle the situation very carefully to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage.

“All security agencies have to strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) formulated for anti-militancy operations and dealing with protests,” the MHA has directed.

Sources said that the MHA has been informed by the top brass of the forces in JK that it was an unprecedented situation in Shopian where thousands of people assembled at the gunfight site and pelted stones on the forces who had engaged a group of militants in a gunfight.

Sources said that the MHA was concerned over the presence of civilians at the gunfight sites despite being repeatedly asked not to do so.
However, sources said that the MHA was satisfied with number of killings of the militants by forces and thwarting of infiltration attempts by the troops along the LoC.

Meanwhile top officials of the MHA, dealing with security related issues of Jammu and Kashmir have received reports that some elements are regularly fuming trouble in parts of the valley. “After analyzing the reports the ministry has asked the security forces to identify them and take strict action,” sources in the MHA informed.

Moreover, MHA is watching Kashmir situation very closely and have gathered all information of security situation prevailing in the Valley from the officers of police, CRPF and other agencies.

Sources said that top security officers were asked to give their views on the ground situation, especially the security situation in Kashmir including counter-insurgency operations and infiltrations from across the border.

After analyzing the information, the MHA believes that the role of some instigators could be the major reason for stone-pelting incidents occurring in a synchronized manner in the parts of the valley especially in south Kashmir.

Pertinent to mention here that at the insistence of the MHA, the state government had announced amnesty scheme on November 23, 2017, to bail out the first-time stone-pelters.

According to state government’s statistics, over 9,000 juveniles were likely to be covered under this initiative.

Meanwhile sources said that police has taken a cognizance of the stone pelting incidents especially one in Narbal area in which a tourist from Chennai was killed and five others were injured.

“We are identifying the people who are involved,” one of the top police officials said and added that after identification strict action under the law will be taken.

(With inputs from KNS)

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