The army cannot wait for the Election Commission's clearance to take action against terrorists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after two terrorists were killed in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian in an encounter on Sunday morning. The encounter had taken place during a cordon and search operation in the area located in terror-hit south Kashmir. The election for Jammu and Kashmir's seven seats got over last week, but today, 59 constituencies are up for election in the sixth and penultimate phase.
"They (the terrorists) were standing in front (of the soldiers) with bombs and guns. Would my jawans go to the Election Commission to ask for permission to shoot? Since I came to Kashmir, every second or third day, clean-ups take place. This is my clean-up operation," PM Modi said while campaigning in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh.
Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Hindsitapur area of Shopian district in south Kashmir following a tip-off about the presence of terrorists. Weapons and other materials have been seized from the site of the encounter, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
The BJP has built its campaign around the theme of nationalism and national security and while no political party has questioned the encounter carried out by soldiers, eyebrows were raised on social media over the Prime Minister's use of "my soldiers".
Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BJP chief Amit Shah had come under opposition criticism for referring to the armed forces as "Modi-ji ka Sena". Complaints against both were filed with the Election Commission, which had barred the use of armed forces for campaign.
Several retired officers of the armed forces had also objected, alleging politicisation of an institution that serves the nation.
Last week, the Commission gave clean chit to PM Modi for several speeches where the armed forces, the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama and the airstrikes at Pakistan's Balakot were mentioned.