- Kashmiris who pick up arms will be treated as anti-nationals: Army Chief
- Angry crowds a challenge in anti-terror operations, say security forces
- Six soldiers, two civilians killed in gun battles in last 3 days
Here are the 10 developments in this story:
Commenting that terrorists have graduated to villages, which made operations challenging, the Army Chief said: "We request the local population that people who have picked up arms...local boys... if they want to continue their acts of terrorism (like) displaying flags of ISIS and Pakistan, then we will treat them as anti-nationals and go helter-skelter for them."
General Rawat said parents should counsel young men who have taken up arms. "We will have to continue with harsher measures, will target them if need be," he said.
In the last three days, six soldiers and two civilians have been killed in fierce gunfights.
Security forces say angry crowds have become a huge challenge in anti-terror operations over the last few months.
"Crowds trying to break the security cordon to help militants escape is a major challenge," said Zulfikar Hasan, Inspector General of the CRPF or Central Reserve Police Force.
Army sources say 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 protestors clashed with security personnel. Crowd control became a problem and pellet guns had to be used, said the police.
Last year, Kashmir witnessed five-month-long protests after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani. Nearly 100 people were killed and over 1,200 were injured in the clashes between protesters and security forces.
The forces, confronting strong criticism for using pellet guns, claimed protesters had been wounded in the eye only because they were stooping to pick up stones to target soldiers.
Among those who died yesterday was 31-year-old Major Satish Dahiya, who was shot while hunting down terrorists hiding inside a home in Handwara. Three terrorists were killed.
Major Dahiya, the father of a two-year-old, was part of several counter-terrorist operations and was also given a gallantry award.