National Conference finds Army Chief’s warning tragic

Srinagar, Feb 16 (PTI) Opposition National Conference today dubbed as “tragic” the Army Chief’s warning of tough action against stone-pelters and said the government needs to engage politically with the “alienated” youth of the Valley.

“Mobs rushing to encounter sites should concern us and alarm us into constructive political action – NOT issuing threats of no mercy. The Govt needs to engage politically with the alienated youth of Kashmir – threats and warnings will only compound their hostility,” NC state spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said in a series of tweets.

He said it was “tragic that New Delhi was warning the alienated youth of Kashmir through army chiefs”.

The NC spokesperson said in a democratic set-up, politically-alienated people cannot be made to cooperate by threats.

Army chief Bipin Rawat had yesterday warned those attacking security forces during anti-militancy operations of “tough action”.

The stern message from Rawat came after three soldiers faced heavy stone-pelting at Parray Mohalla of Bandipore in north Kashmir when they were about to launch an operation against militants holed up there.

Alerted by the stone-pelters, the militants had got an opportunity to fire hand grenades and empty a few magazines from AK-rifles into the advancing troopers, leaving three jawans dead and some others, including a Commanding officer of CRPF, injured. One terrorist managed to flee the area.

General Rawat said security forces in Jammu and Kashmir were facing higher casualties due to the manner in which the locals were preventing them from conducting the operations and “at times even supporting the terrorists to escape”.

“We would now request the local population that people who have picked up arms, and they are the local boys, if they want to continue with the acts of terrorism, displaying flags of ISIS and Pakistan, then we will treat them as anti-national elements and go helter-skelter for them.

“They may survive today but we will get them tomorrow.

Our relentless operations will continue,” the Army chief had said.