NEW DELHI: Sending a strong message to local Kashmiri people creating hurdles by throwing stones at the security personnel during anti-terror operations, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said it will be dealt as anti-nationals and will face “harsh” actions by adding that if "they do not relent and create hurdle in our operations, then we will take tough action."
Army Chief’s reaction came after his discussion with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who landed at Palam technical area to pay homage to three of the four soldiers including a Major killed in two separate encounters in Kashmir valley on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was landed at the Palam technical area in the evening after attending an election rally in Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh, made a surprised visit at the airbase, where mortal remains of the soldiers were kept. “PM’s visit was not scheduled. After seeing the mortal remains of soldiers, he came and paid his homage to martyrs,” a senior officer said.
Three security force personnel were killed in an encounter in Parray Mohalla of Hajin area of Bandipora district yesterday while another armymen lost his life in north Kashmir's Kupwara district. Four militants were also killed in the operations.
After paying homage, General Rawat briefed prime minister about prevailing situation in the Kashmir valley. General Rawat also informed the PM that security forces operating in the valley are facing higher casualties due to interference by the local population. “Local population not only restricts movement of security personnel during operations and at time even support the terrorists to escape,” General Rawat said.
"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," said the Army Chief.
General Rawat said those supporting terror activities are being given an opportunity but if they continue with their acts then security forces will come down hard on them.
"We are giving them an opportunity, should they want to continue to then, we will continue with relentless operations may be with harsher measures and that is the way to continue," he told reporters after laying wreath to the martyrs of Handwara and Bandipora operations.
It has been observed, especially after the killing of Burhan Wani by security forces in July last year, security forces have faced opposition from local population in certain areas of Kashmir during anti-terror operations.