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Civilian causalities: Police mulls to involve village elders, imams in keeping people away

Srinagar, Apr 13: Police is going to involve elderly villagers, imams, and community heads in keeping the civilians away from encounter sites.
The decision has been taken in the backdrop of rising civilian casualties around the encounters sites.
So far this year, at least 12 civilians have lost their lives while trying to help the trapped militants to escape. This despite the advisories issued to the people for staying away from the encounter spots.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani, said that involving locals could play a “vital role” in keeping people away from the encounter sites.
“Police and other security agencies maintain maximum restraint while dealing with the law and order problem during encounters. The people come so close to the encounter sites that their safety comes under threat,” he said.
He said the police was committed to providing a “secure environment” to the people, as “citizens are our priority”.
On militants escaping at Kulgam, he said the encounter site was on the river bank that was occupied by the people.
Pani said that the people moving towards encounter sites has picked up after Shopian killings.
He said the forces always follow adhere the SOP.
“We would definitely bring changes, if a need was felt,” he said. “We always try to carry out clean operations.”