This Article is From Feb 15, 2017

Day After Major, 3 Others Die In Kashmir, Army Chief Bipin Rawat's Warning To 'Locals'

The s anti-terror operation in Kashmir is not getting local support, General Bipin Rawat said.

New Delhi: A day after four soldiers -- among them an army major -- died in Kashmir, Army Chief Bipin Rawat indicted it was time terror was controlled from the grass-root level in Kashmir. The army, he said, was not getting support from the local population despite trying to conduct "people-friendly operations". At a time the terrorists have "graduated" to villages, "harsher measures" were needed to control the local boys, he said.

"We request local population... people who have picked up arms, local boys, if they continue with these acts of terrorism, displaying flags of ISIS and Pakistan, they will be treated as anti-nationals," General Rawat said. "We request the parents of these boys to counsel them... We will have to continue with harsher measures if need be."

Former Union Minister P Chidambaram called the Army Chief's comments "intemperate" and said it would be a "wrong approach to Jammu and Kashmir".

Over the last few months, securitymen involved in anti-terror operations in Kashmir's villages have claimed they were targeted by slogan-shouting, stone-throwing locals. In several cases, it had enabled the terrorists to escape, they have said.

Army sources have even said they suspect during yesterday's operation in Bandipora, two terrorists had managed to escape due to mob violence. On Sunday, an encounter in Kulgam was followed by protests, during which the protestors had tried to break cordon. The crowd control became a problem and pellet guns had to be used, the police had said.

Last year, Kashmir witnessed five-month-long protests following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani. As protests swelled, the security forces claimed that in many areas, especially in South Kashmir, they became targets of stone throwing by local young men.

Security forces - who came under harsh criticism for pellet injuries in protesters' eyes -- claimed they were targeting the protesters' legs as per protocol and the men had sustained eye wounds only because they were stooping to pick stones.