Army chief warns locals against supporting militants in Kashmir

New Delhi: In a stern message, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said the army operations against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir will continue and warned locals against supporting militants.

“Our aim is to bring peace and tranquility in the Kashmir Valley. These terrorists have now entered villages and we are conducting operations against them. We find the local population is somehow not supporting security forces’ action,” General Rawat told the media here after paying homage to four Army personnel, including a Major, killed in two gunfights in Kashmir on Tuesday.

Speaking on the high casualties among the security forces in anti-terrorist operations, the Chief of Army Staff said: “Our aim has been to conduct operations in a way that don’t endanger the civilians. However, sometimes locals prevent us from conducting military operations – at times even supporting terrorists to escape.”

“It leads to higher casualties among the security forces,” he added.

Warning locals against supporting militants, General Rawat said: “We will request locals in Kashmir that people who have picked up arms — and these are local boys — and if they want to continue with acts of terrorism by displaying flags of the Islamic State and Pakistan, we will treat them as anti-national elements and go after them.”

“They may survive today but we will get them tomorrow. And our relentless operations will continue,” the Army chief added.

Four soldiers and as many militants were killed in two gunfights in the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday.