Acknowledging that the hostile conduct of locals was causing higher casualties in the Kashmir valley, Army chief Bipin Rawat on Wednesday warned stone-pelters who try to disrupt anti-terror operations in J&K that they will be treated as “overground workers of terrorists” and can be fired at.
The stern message from Rawat came a day after three soldiers faced heavy stone-pelting at Parray Mohalla of Bandipore in north Kashmir when they were about to launch an operation against militants holed up there.
Alerted by the stone-pelters, the militants got an opportunity to fire hand grenades and empty a few magazines from AK-rifles into the advancing troopers, leaving three jawans dead and some others, including a Commanding officer of CRPF, injured. One terrorist managed to flee the area.
“We would now request the local population that people who have picked up arms, and they are the local boys, if they want to continue with the acts of terrorism, displaying flags of ISIS and Pakistan, then we will treat them as anti-national elements and go helter-skelter for them.
They may survive today but we will get them tomorrow. Our relentless operations will continue,” the Army Chief told reporters in New Delhi, sending out a stern message to those who support militants.
Four terrorists were gunned down in two separate encounters yesterday. Four army personnel, including a Major, were also killed in the encounters at Handwara and Bandipora.