Don’t kill local militants in encounters unless they fire at you: GOC to his men

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KL Report

SRINAGAR

With the expiry of the Tosamaidan lease to Army on Friday, GOC 15 Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Gurmeet Singh said that he has already forwarded his recommendations to the Government and it is now responsibility of the Government to take a decision in this regard.

Gurmeet Singh told Srinagar based news gathering agency CNS that that there is a requirement for Army to have land in Kashmir for carrying out artillery drills. “As far as Tosamaidan issue is concerned, we have already forwarded our recommendations to the government. I can’t have independent comments on the issue as there are people in Army who are superior to me. If I will comment beyond this, that means I will create confusion. My only comment is that I have sent my recommendations and now Government will take a decision in this regard, “Lieutenant General Gurmeet Singh said.

Responding to a query, Gurmeet Singh said that every Kashmiri youth is not a ‘Slumdog millionaire’ but a ‘slumdog trillioner’ (referring to the Bollywood movie Slumdog Millionaire’) replete with aptitude and talent. “These youth were born during turmoil and yet they have capabilities and can do wonders. Instead of following the footprints of my predecessors, I tried to customize the things and I felt that local militants are misguided youth. I instructed my subordinates not to kill local militants during encounters because it is my personal belief that they have been subject to false propaganda. I told my officer’s not to target any local militant unless he fires at you,” Singh said.

Elaborating further, Singh told CNS that instead of killing notorious local militants the Army honoured his word and apprehended the militants like Talib Lali and Hizb District Commander Major Saqib. “Very few people know that during an ambush in Tral, Army instead of killing two extortionists who were carrying toy guns apprehended them. I awarded the Army commander who was handing that operation for using his brain and respecting my word,” he said adding that that we could have easily killed a 22 year old “drug addict” at Boniyar Uri who came close to our ammunition point, putting the lives of Army personnel into danger but we didn’t do that just because you can’t be a good soldier unless you are not a good human being.

GOC 15 Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Gurmeet Singh told CNS that after the Hyderpora deadly militant attack in which 8 of their jawans were killed, he carried out in depth introspection and, “I came to conclusion that Army ought to carry out truthful, professional, and ethical operations only. I have understood that unethical operations can have short term gains for you but at the end of the day you are the loser. Besides, there are so many agencies operating in Jammu and Kashmir and you can’t keep anything under carpet for a long time. Keeping these things into mind, I instructed my soldiers to be humane and during every counter terrorism operation, ensure the safety of common people,” he said adding that you will find a total change amoung soldiers operating in Kashmir.

“If my soldier fails to eliminate a militant with single bullet during the encounter then I feel that his training has gone to waste. There is no fun to create panic and chaos in and around encounter site by firing hundreds of bullets. I have talked to 47,000 soldiers ever since I assumed the charge of GOC here and I have told them to ensure the safety of common people,” he said adding that pro-people approach helped us to eliminate most of the foreign militants. “You will not believe that all the foreign militants killed so far during the initial months of the current year were eliminated with the help of local people who provided information to police to Army about their presence in the area,” Singh said.

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