Will kill militants but has no intent to harm civilians; says Army

J&K govt bans internet service for a month
Report by: 
Baramulla (Kashmir)
26 Apr 2017

The army will have to kill militants and will do so but there is no intent to harm civilians, a top commander said today and sought cooperation of the people in restoring peace in Kashmir where the situation is "grim". Lt General J S Sandhu, Commander of Srinagar-based Corps which looks after security of the Kashmir valley, expressed concern over the number of videos of militants being circulated on the social media and the rise in militancy- related incidents in the valley. He said the situation in Kashmir was "grim" but the valley has to be taken out of such a situation towards peace and prosperity. "It is a matter of concern, but I want to assure you that for the last few months, we have been taking action against the militants to a great deal and we will continue doing so... We will continue action against the militants here," he said while talking to reporters at the end of a two-day youth festival 'Jashn-e-Baramulla',  "We have to kill militants and we will kill militants only. We should not need to kill anyone else. Basically, our intent is that," Lt Gen Sandhu said. He did not elaborate but was apparently referring to the situations when the army is forced to act against mobs of stone-pelters who assemble at the encounter sites to disrupt operations by the forces against militants. This kind of trend has been increasing. Lt Gen Sandhu referred to last Saturday when the army killed two militants in Hayatpora near Budgam and asserted, "Such operations will continue."  Asking the people of Kashmir to cooperate with the army, he said the intent of the force is not to harm the civilians. "Only yesterday, in the Unified Headquarters meeting, we discussed this (not harming civilians during anti-militancy operations). Our intent is also that people should cooperate," he said. Expressing happiness over the 'Jashn-e-Baramulla' festival in which Kashmiri youth participated in large numbers, the army commander said it was a ray of hope as it "gives us a sense that people here want peace" and "want their lives to be better".He said the army has to take along youth of the valley as they are the future of the nation. "Today, Kashmir is going through grim situation and we have to take Kashmir out of this situation, towards happiness and prosperity. But, I think, that is not up to us. That is in the hands of the people of Kashmir, Lt Gen Sandhu said. Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir government today banned 22 social networking sites and applications including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter in Kashmir on the ground that these were being misused by anti-national and anti-social elements to fan trouble. The ban will be in place for a month or till further orders, whichever is earlier, said an order issued by Principal Secretary (Home) R K Goyal. "In the interest of maintenance of public order, the government hereby directs all internet service providers that any message or class of messages to or from a person or a class of persons relating to any subject or any pictorial content through the following social networking sites shall not be transmitted in Kashmir valley with immediate effect for a period of one month or till further orders, whichever is earlier," he said in the three-page order. The sites and applications which will be inaccessible in the valley include Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Wechat, QQ, Qzone, Google Plus, Skype, Line, Pinterest, Snapchat, Youtube, Vine and Flickr. An earlier report said the government had suspended internet services in Kashmir for a month but this was not correct. To ban the social networking sites and Apps, Goyal invoked the powers conferred on Government under Indian Telegraph Act 1885 read with Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules 2007 to ban these sites and applications. "On careful examination of all relevant factors, it is observed that the use of social media platforms, which are being misused by anti-national and anti-social elements by transmitting inflammatory messages in various forms are immediately required to be regulated/curbed," the order reads.(PTI)