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Our ops in Kashmir are ‘people friendly’: Army chief

Army 5

New Delhi, Jun 29: Days after imposition of governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir, army chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday said army was operating with “people-friendly” rules of engagement in the Valley. “Our basic purpose is to go after militants who create violence and disturbance in the Valley. Our aim is not to cause inconvenience to civilian population who are not indulging in arson or violence,” he said on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi. Jammu and Kashmir was placed under governor’s rule on June 20, the fourth time in the last one decade, after the Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew support to its alliance partner People’s Democratic Alliance forcing Mehbooba Mufti to resign as the chief minister of the state. “There is nothing like stepping up… army continues to operate with the formulated rules of engagement,” Rawat said when asked whether security has been stepped up in the Valley after the fall of the government. The army chief said in addition to the “stringent” rules of engagement, local formation commanders continuously give guidelines to soldiers as to how to operate. “Our rules of engagement are very people-friendly and we conduct operations in a very people-friendly manner. And, motivated reports that Indian Army is carrying out brutal operations in Kashmir is not true,” he said. Gen Rawat had earlier dismissed the recent United Nations report on alleged human rights violations in Kashmir as “motivated” and asserted that Indian Army’s record in this regard was “absolutely above board”. The army chief on Friday interacted with a group of school students from Baramulla and other neighbouring regions of the Valley who visited him here at South Block as part of a “national integration tour”. “The message we want these children to go back with, is that if militant activities and stone-pelting stops in Kashmir, it too can prosper like Delhi or other big cities, and perhaps even better,” he said.