NEW DELHI: Sending a strong message to local Kashmiri people creating a hurdle by throwing stones at security personnel during anti-terror operations, Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said they will be dealt with as anti-nationals and will face “harsh” action. He said if “they do not relent and create hurdles in our operations, we will take tough action”.
Rawat’s reaction came after his discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who landed at the Palam technical area to pay homage to three of the four soldiers, including a Major, killed in two separate encounter incidents in the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday.
Modi, who landed at the Palam technical area in the evening after an election rally at Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh, made a surprise visit to the airbase, where the mortal remains of the soldiers were kept. “The PM’s visit was not scheduled. After seeing the mortal remains of the soldiers, he paid homage to them,” said a senior officer.
After paying homage to the deceased personnel, Rawat briefed the PM on the prevailing situation in the Valley. He also informed the PM that security forces operating in the Valley are facing higher casualties due to interference by the locals. “Local population not only restricts the movement of the security personnel during operations, at times they even help the terrorists to escape,” he 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 Rawat.
The Army chief said those supporting terror activities are being given an opportunity.