Poonch civilian killing: Conduct operations in professional manner, Indian Army chief tells field commanders

Armed forces personnel patrol near a military operation site in JK. [FPK File Photo / Vikar Syed]

Defence Minister to visit Jammu; internet remains suspended on third straight day in Poonch-Rajouri districts

Jammu: Amid an ongoing operation against militants behind the Poonch-Rajouri attack that left four army personnel dead and two injured last week, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande on Monday visited the ground zero and exhorted the commanders to conduct the operations in the “most professional manner”.

The visit also comes in the backdrop of death of three civilians, who were allegedly picked up by the armed forces for questioning after the militants attacked two Army vehicles on Thursday (December 21) at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Buffliaz in Poonch, and were found dead near the attack site on December 23.

Officials said that the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) also asked the forces to remain resolute and steadfast against all challenges.

“General Manoj Pande COAS visited Poonch sector and was given an update on the prevalent security situation. COAS interacted with commanders on ground, exhorted them to conduct the operations in the most professional manner and remain resolute and steadfast against all challenges,” the army’s Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADGPI) of the Indian Army posted on X.

Jammu based Defence spokesman in Jammu said the army chief reached Jammu in the afternoon and immediately left for Rajouri-Poonch sector to review the operational preparedness and the prevailing situation.

The officials said General Pande visited Dhera Ki Gali and reviewed the anti-militancy operation going on in Surankote and nearby Rajouri district’s Thanamandi forest belt for the last five days to kill the militants behind the dastardly attack that left four army personnel dead.

The Army chief later flew to the 25 Infantry division headquarters in Rajouri and was briefed by the commanders on the ground about the overall security situation, they said.

Meanwhile, Army Commander Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi visited Poonch sector and reviewed the reinforcements for operational excellence.

“Army commander presence in Poonch sector reinforces Indian Army’s commitment for operational excellence. He was briefed by the Commanders on the ongoing operations. He exhorted the formations to maintain highest professional standards and be prepared to meet the dynamic challenges,” spokesperson added.

Official’s sources said that Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh is slated to embark on a one-day visit to Jammu on December 27. The focal point of defence minister’s visit will be a series of engagements with top-ranking Army officers at 16 Corps, emphasising strategic discussions on national security.

During his visit, Minister Singh, sources said, will extend his presence to the regions of Rajouri and Poonch, where he is scheduled to interact with both military personnel and locals. This affirms the Minister’s commitment to understanding the ground realities and fostering a direct connection with the forces and the public.

The itinerary also includes a pivotal security review meeting at Jammu Raj Bhawan, showcasing the Defence Minister’s keen interest in ensuring the continued vigilance and preparedness of the armed forces in the region.

Meanwhile, mobile internet services remained suspended in both Poonch and Rajouri districts for the third day on Monday as a precautionary measure to check rumour-mongering and prevent anyone from creating any law and order problem, the officials said. The services were suspended early Saturday following the killing of the three civilians.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday announced compensation and jobs to the families of the dead civilians and said the medico legal formalities were conducted and legal action in this matter has been initiated by the appropriate authority.

As per army sources, “Army has attached the Brigade Commander of the 13 Sector Rashtriya Rifles in a formal inquiry related to the death of 3 civilians. The inquiry will also look into the recurrent loss of army personnel in militant attacks in the area of responsibility of the officer in recent times”.

Army has ordered a thorough internal investigation into the deaths of the three civilians and said it is committed to extending full support and cooperation in the conduct of the investigation.

Army in a post on X on December 23, the Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADGPI) of the Indian Army said, “Search operations by the security forces are continuing in the area of operations after the incident of 21 Dec 23. Reports have been received regarding three civilian deaths in the area. The matter is under investigation. Indian Army stands committed to extending full support and cooperation in the conduct of investigations.”


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by FPK staff and is published from a syndicated feed from KNO)

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