Srinagar: Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir division, Vijay Kumar, Monday said stone-pelting is more serious than militancy.
The IGP’s statement comes in the backdrop of a clash between over a dozen youth and security forces in Srinagar’s downtown area earlier this month after senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Molvi Umar Farooq — who is under house arrest since August 2019 — wasn’t allowed to deliver a sermon at Jamia Masjid amid reports that he would not be released from detention.
The youth, who allegedly pelted the security forces with stones, were booked under the stringent Public Safety Act.
Massive clashes had also ensued in south Kashmir’s Shopian district last week when hundreds of local residents from multiple villages converged towards Rawalpora village to allegedly help the escape of two militants, who were trapped and later killed in a gun battle.
“Terrorism does not affect us as much as stone-pelting does. It impacts the economic activity, schools, shops and tourism in the Valley, so we are taking stone-pelting more seriously,” IGP Kumar said at a press conference in Srinagar.
“Unlike two or three attacks, the law and order situation affects yatra, tourism and economic activities. The whole society gets involved and we don’t want that to happen,” Kumar added.
The IGP’s statements come after an encounter in Shopian ended with the killing of four militants Monday.
19 militants killed since January this year
The IGP said 19 militants have been killed since January this year and 18 Kashmiris have joined the insurgency — taking the number of active militants to 200, including Pakistani nationals.
General-Officer-Commanding (GoC), Victor Force, Rashim Bali, who was also present at the press conference, said the Army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles, reached out to the parents, wife and also the four-year-old son of a militant, Raqib, who was caught in the Shopian encounter.
“They refused to surrender. This is why the operation got delayed, otherwise it wouldn’t have lasted even for half an hour,” the GoC said.
(Edited by Debalina Dey)
This report has been updated to accurately reflect the fact that IGP Vijay Kumar didn’t mention arrest under Public Safety Act at the press conference. The error is regretted.
Also read: Short gun-fights, less stone-pelting — Kashmir counter-terror ops changing, says Army officer
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