With terror gunfights staging a comeback in Jammu & Kashmir in the past week, the state government has put out an advisory to people not to assemble within a 2 km radius of an encounter site.The divisional commissioner of Kashmir, Baseer Ahmed Khan told New Indian Express that such an advisory was issued last year too, ordering people to stay home when there is trouble.
Khan said rules against people’s assembly under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code would be strictly enforced around encounter sites.
The move is meant to prevent assembly of mobs who have been known to indulge in stone-throwing to provide cover to militants and hamper the security forces.
The advisory came a day after Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat warned of tough action against people hampering counter-militancy operations in Kashmir.
Khan said more measures would be taken to prevent people from staging protests and triggering clashes to engage security personnel to provide cover for militants to escape.
Whenever an encounter takes place between militants and security forces, people of the locality march to the site and engage the forces with stone-throwing.
Gen. Rawat had said Wednesday that people creating hurdles during anti-militancy operations and displaying flags of Pakistan and ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir would be dealt with harshly.
The National Conference criticized the Army chief for his tough talk. “It is tragic that New Delhi is still trying to talk to the youth of Kashmir through the defence establishment when the need of the hour is to engage them politically. Youth rushing towards encounter sites are signs of the sense of alienation and disenchantment in Kashmir. The need of the hour is to understand the deep sense of isolation in Kashmir and deal with it with statesmanship and magnanimity,” the party’s spokesperson Junaid Mattu said.
Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said Gen. Rawat’s tough words were typical of the Indian government’s “arrogance”.