Srinagar, Apr 12: Civilians thronging encounter sites are “responsible for their deaths as bullets don’t distinguish between a stone thrower and a militant”, Jammu and Kashmir police chief S P Vaid said on Thursday as he again urged youth to stay away from such places as they were not marriage venues.
“Nobody wants civilian deaths and the police and security forces are pained at such incidents,” he said.
“We have been appealing to young boys to stay away from encounter sites. A bullet does not distinguish between a stone pelter and a militant. It has a trajectory to hit. They are responsible for their own deaths. They should not come to encounter sites,” Vaid said in a live Twitter question-answer session.
He was replying to a question posed by oneTajamulWani about civilian deaths in gunfights.
The strong words from the senior officer came a day after four civilians were killed by forces during an encounter in Kulgam district. An Army-man also died while the three militants managed to escape after civilian casualties increased.
“No citizen of India would like any civilian killing. We have been repeatedly requesting people not to come near the encounter sites when bullets fly whether from the militants or from the Army, from paramilitary force and police. They have a trajectory. They will not look for the chest of a particular person. They can hit anybody so it is advisable not to come near the encounter sites,” DGP Vaid said.
“It pains me most and pains all the forces when a civilian dies,” he added.
“Our effort is not even a single civilian should get hurt, but they have no business to be there. Marriage of the militant is not going on. Why are these boys coming near the militant encounter sites,” he lamented.
Official accounts and news reports show that since the beginning of 2018, 22 civilians were killed in the crossfire during gunfights and protests.
In a bid to reduce civilian interference at encounter sites, the government in January said it could offer amnesty to youth who have been booked in cases of stone pelting.
Responding to a question on the pending FIRs, Vaid said the police had already moved the concerned courts in such cases.
In some of the cases, parents were supposed to come and approach police stations and give an undertaking, he added.
To a question about solution of the Kashmir problem, he said violence was not the answer.
“I personally feel that the gun is not the solution. Everybody concerned including our neighbour (Pakistan), and only way out is to sit together and talk it out and sort it out and gun is not a solution and violence is not a solution”, he said.
Vaid said his most challenging task was post the BurhanWani episode because as Special DG law and order to deal with the situation.
On the internet blockades, the DGP said “my effort is to minimize disruption of the internet. I am totally against it. But let me tell you there is mischief and misuse of it to spread hatred and false propaganda. This is what we want to prevent”.
“We want minimum disruption of education of children from Kashmir valley and we will ensure it,” he added.
The DGP said that the most challenging task has been in 2016 after the killing of former HizbulMujahideen commander BurhanWani.
“Post Burhan situation was most challenging task. When charge was given as special DG law and order,” he said.
On the presence of IS DGP Vaid said “my only wish is that they don’t come here.”
On Asifa rape and murder case and demand for CBI probe by some DGP Vaid said that police have no problem with CBI handling case but if “Jammu and Kashmir police can deal with militants and stone pelters why can’t they deal with this case.”
Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight
Srinagar, Jun 17: An Army officer and a militant were killed and three other soldiers including a Major injured in a gunfight in south Kashmir Anantnag district on Monday, police said.
Police sources said the officer was shot at during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village in Achabal area of the district.
The slain militant was believed to be a foreigner.
SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the operation was launched following specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.
He said that as the joint team intensified the searches, the militants, hiding in the area, opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight.
Initially, sources said, the joint team of forces and militants exchanged gunfire for some time during which the house, in which the militants were hiding, was damaged. Later there was a lull for about an hour even as Army rushed more reinforcements and the joint team started searches to find out the militants.
Soon the militants rose from the debris and opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in the on-spot death of Major Keetan Sharma and injuries to three others including another Army Major Rahul Verma, sources said.
They added the joint team of forces retailed the fire, leading to the fresh gunfight in an open field. While one militant was killed and the search operation is underway to find if there is any more militant hiding in the area.
The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is being ascertained, sources said.
Meanwhile, youth took to streets and pelted stones at the security forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.
In wake of the operation, the authorities snapped internet service in the southern district.
IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured
Srinagar, Jun 17: Militants on Monday attempted to blow off an Army vehicle in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
A police official said that an armoured vehicle of Army came under an IED attack in Hargam Arihal village of Pulwama. He added that after the blast militants also fired some gunshots towards the vehicle.
Local residents informed that they heard huge blast followed by gunshots.
Reports said that six soldiers and two civilians were injured in the blast. The soldiers were shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar for treatment.
The area was soon cordoned off, officials said.
Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck.
Three of them who were travelling in the cabin of the vehicle are stated to be serious, the news agency reported.
The blast was triggered by militants using a car laden with explosives, GNS reported attributing the same to “initial investigations by police.”
“A police officer that the explosives were fitted inside a car and investigators are probing the owner of the vehicle. Asked, which type of vehicle was used, the officer said that it is a matter of investigation,” the news agency reported.
“Samples have been collected and further probe is underway,” the officer was quoted saying.
In a statement, the Army called the attack a “failed attempt” by militants. The troops are safe, barring a few minor injuries, it said, adding, “The area has been cordoned and search operations are in progress”.
The blast comes days after Pakistan had reportedly shared information with India and America regarding the possibility of major militant attack in the south Kashmir district. (With inputs from GNS)
Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony
Srinagar, Jun 17: Emotional scenes were Monday witnessed at District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar as top cops and bureaucrats attended the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain police officer Arshad Khan, who had sustained critical injuries in a militant attack in Anantnag last week and later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, Delhi on Sunday.
J&K Police chief Dilbagh Singh, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and KK Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmed Khan, ADGP Muneer Khan, and SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal, among other civil and police officers were present on the occasion.
J&K Police shared two heart wrenching photos of Dr Mughal carrying the deceased’s son in his arms during the wreath-laying ceremony.
In the photos, a teary-eyed Haseeb is seen carrying slain Arshad Khan’s son while paying tributes to his colleague.
On the occasion, Advisor Kumar said that more than 1600 J&K Police personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.
On June 12, around 4:50 pm, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including Arshad sustained injuries after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at bus stand Anantnag.
Arshad was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital and then to Srinagar’ SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. After being treated there for a few days, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.
According to police, Arshad was inducted into police services in the year 2002 and was presently posted as SHO Anantnag. Khan is survived by father and mother, wife Neelofar, 5-year-old son Abuhan Khan, Danim 2, and a brother.