Stay away from sites of encounters, youths told

J&K top cop says bullets don't see who they hit

Stay away from sites of encounters, youths told
Stating that civilians who march towards the encounter sites were “committing suicide”, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police S P Vaid on Thursday said bullets don’t see who they hit. “A bullet does not see who is coming or who it will hit. Youths should stay at homes. Those coming to the encounter site are committing suicide,” the DGP said in the backdrop of the recent killing of three youths in Budgam area of central Kashmir during a stone-pelting protest.

He said even security forces take cover of a vehicle or house to avoid being hit by bullets. The police chief blamed Pakistan’s spy agency for trying to instigate and provoke innocent boys to reach the site of exchange of fire. “As per the inputs received, ISI is trying to instigate and provoke innocent young boys to come out of their houses and reach the site of exchange of fire,” an official statement quoting the DGP said.

“There are also recorded messages indicating that as soon as an encounter begins, the Pakistan propaganda mill immediately gets into action.” The state government has issued advisories on encounters several times asking people to stay away from gun battle sites to avoid collateral damages during anti-militancy operations. The police have imposed a ban on assembly of people within a radii of 3 km of an encounter site and advised people to stay indoors and not peep out of their windows to avoid being hit by stray bullets.

Army chief General Bipin Rawat had last month warned of tough action against those attacking security forces. However, people in large numbers, especially youth, come out of their houses and chant pro-azadi slogans on seeing security forces arriving in their area to take on militants. They move close to the encounter sites and target security forces with stones to help militants escape the security cordon. In some cases in the recent past, womenfolk have also joined them.

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