‘Saying civilians were killed is a misnomer’

Union Home Secretary G. K. Pillai talks about the situation in Kashmir in an interview with Iftikhar Geelani

KL: Violence is raging in Kashmir. Is there any strategy to contain it?
GKP: Government of India is fully backing efforts of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to bring back normalcy and break cycle of violence. We are in touch and willing to provide whatever help they need at this hour. We appreciate his statement. It has helped dispel misreading of earlier statements.

KL: You mean to say, Chief Minister has withdrawn his earlier statement of blaming CRPF going out of control?
GKP: CRPF has shown utmost restraint. They are working under the jurisdiction of state government. Video footage of this incident is available. It has been shown to the chief minister.
It shows the kind of restraint exercised by the central forces.  In three incidents where CRPF fired, in one they fired rubber bullet in self defence. In other their camp had come under attack and their vehicle had been burnt. In every other case, they were acting jointly with Jammu and Kashmir Police. Police must have issued command.

KL: But it is also a fact that civilians are getting killed?
GKP: I think, it is a misnomer to say civilians getting killed. If you see these are people who are attacking police pickets and properties. If you see what happened, you have crowd, an unruly mob attacking CRPF posts and then CRPF firing in self defence. I think they have shown maximum and considerable restraint that just few persons were killed. It is regrettable, but they have shown utmost restraint that limited casualty, which otherwise would not have happened.
Now in a place where curfew is imposed people break curfew. That is all illegal action. And then they go ahead attacking police and CRPF posts. I don’t think you call them by any stretch of imagination as innocent civilians.

KL: But, how was CRPF threatened by a nine-year old boy, who was killed?
It is unfortunate. Amongst those who were killed while attacking a CRPF post was a 17 year old boy. Now if these organizers of these mobs are in one sense putting  teenagers to the front, it is they are to be blamed. Teenagers should realize they are being exploited by the organizers of these protests.


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