SRINAGAR: After outrage in Valley over killing of three civilians in security forces firing near an encounter site in Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, J&K police chief S P Vaid on Thursday appealed youth to stay away from the encounter sites saying their rushing to such places amounts to committing suicide.
The Hurriyat Conference faction led by Syed Ali Geelani, however, has justified the stone pelting saying “it is the tool in the hands of deprived people”.
J&K DGP S P Vaid termed the stone pelting near encounter sites as a challenge and advised youth to stay away from such practices.
“In the encounter even security forces take cover. They take cover of BP vehicle or a house while the youth coming to encounter sites are committing suicide. Bullet does not see who is coming and whom it will hit,” he said.
Kashmir has been witnessing a new trend of people marching towards encounter sites to pave way for militants to escape.
At least 12 civilians have been killed in security forces firing on people near the encounter sites in the Valley since February last year.
The DGP advised youth to stay at home during the encounters and avoid coming or marching to the encounter sites and pelting stones on the security personnel.
Urging people to think about their families, he said, “Just think of mother, brother, sister or father who lost their dear ones two days back. People will forget them after 10 days and everyone will start normal life but it is only the family, which will suffer”.
Vaid said the youth must understand that they are being used for political gains by the vested interests, who want mayhem and chaos in Kashmir
“The inimical elements were misusing social media to instigate youth to hurl stones at security forces to help militants flee,” he said.
The police chief said they are monitoring all the WhatsApp groups and action will be taken against these involved in instigating youth.
He said there are 300 WhatsApp groups each having over 250 members and Facebook accounts and other social media things operating and misused to instigate Kashmir youth for stone pelting.
“The moment encounter starts, they activate these social media groups to instigate boys to reach to the encounter sites and pelt stones on security forces to help militants to escape,” said the DGP.
He said some of these accounts have been traced, which are being run from across the border by enemies of the India to create problems in Kashmir.
Asked how they are going to tackle this situation where youth march towards encounter sites, Vaid said, “It is challenging but we keep evolving our strategy according to the situation. With the experience of last 25 years, police and other security agencies will be able to handle this situation also”.
He said despite grave provocations and instigation from the across the border, security forces have been able to minimise the collateral damage and civilians causalities during encounters.
Meanwhile, Hurriyat Conference faction led by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has described stone pelting as tool in the hands of deprived people.
“The stone pelting in J&K has been going on since long and it has been used as a tool of resistance. It is outcome of the egoistic attitude of India,” said Ayaz Akbar, a spokesman of Hurriyat.
He said Kashmiri people resisted and pelted stones even against Mughal armies and Pakistan was still a dream and not existing on map.
Akbar said Kashmiris resorted to stone pelting on Dogra troops as they were resisting tyrannical attitude of Dogra rulers.
“Stone as a tool of resentment remained there even after Dogra regime was overthrown and when Indian forces occupied J&K. The stone pelting was a measure and characteristic tool for 22 years during right to self-determination movement.”
He said it is ridiculous to blame Pakistan for instigating stone pelting in Valley.
“Indian authorities are suffering from phobia and instead of realizing the ground realities, they unnecessarily blame Pakistan,” Akbar said.
Terming Kashmir struggle as “indigenous movement”, he said Indian authorities are desperate to mislead the international community .
“Kashmiri people will pursue struggle till their aspirations regarding the political destiny of state are accorded due honour and ascertained through right to self-determination,” he added.