Since Army Chief’s warning, people helped militants escape on 13 occasions

Since Army Chief General Bipin Rawat issued a warning to people who disrupt anti-militancy operations, people have helped militants escape on 13 occasions out of 43 such operations carried out by Army in Kashmir during the past three months.

An official report says that since the warning of Army Chief, 43 anti-militancy operations were carried out by the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) counterinsurgency units and Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K Police in different parts of Kashmir. Most of the operations have been carried out in Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Awantipora and Budgam

The report reveals that in more than half the operations the residents pelted stones on the Army and Police, thus making remarkable disruptions in operations.

It adds that “fearing massive collateral damage, the anti-militancy operations at six places were called off before their start.” The report says that at 13 places, the protests and subsequent pelting of stones on operational parties lead to escape of the militants.

General Rawat had warned people on February 16, a day after four soldiers, including a Major, were killed in two separate encounters in Kashmir. The Army Chief has sent out a stern message to those who support militants.

The report mentions that less than a week after Army chief’s warning, three militants managed to escape in Tarigam area of Kulgam district after RR and SOG cordoned off the area around Public Health Centre and started searches.

“Searches were undertaken, massive protests and stone pelting erupted in area. We burst tear smoke shells, but the protestors and stone pelters entered into the cordoned off area,” reads the report adding there was heavy stone pelting in the area. “The protests and pelting created chaos and confusion. We retracted because of apprehensions of collateral damage. We have deployed men in plain clothes to track them down. There is always a tomorrow.”

Two days before this incident, the report says, a huge “mob” raised slogans and pelted stones at security forces who had begun an anti-militancy operation at Warwun-Newa village in Pulwama.

Since 2015 there have been numerous instances when people have come rushing to encounter sites distracting army and police and helping militants to flee in some cases

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