Army chief defends Shopian killings, Major Gogoi’s human shield act

Army chief defends Shopian killings, Major Gogoi’s human shield act

Because the media only focuses on soldiers killed by Pakistan, they build a narrative on how they have managed to inflict a blow on us, says Army chief

Srinagar: The Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat defended the killing of three civilians in Shopian by the Army on 17 January saying “stone-pelters were hampering military operations”.

He also defended Major Gogoi’s human shield act when the latter tied a Kashmiri shawl weaver Farooq Ahmad Dar to the bonnet of a jeep last year saying that the Army “honour local sentiments and don’t conduct operations during janazas (funeral processions) even though terrorists come there and fire in the air.”

“What do you want me to do, have a seat in front of all jeeps. We got flak even for that,” the Hindustan Times reported Friday.

Rawat said that Army will give Pakistan a reply “sooner rather than later” for the 10 February fidayeen attack on a military camp in Jammu, the report added.

Six soldiers and a civilian were killed in the fidayeen attack in Sunjuwan by Jish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants. Soon after the incident, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that Pakistan, which she accused of backing the attackers, would pay for its “misadventure”.

“Pakistan thinks it is fighting a war that is paying them dividends but we have several options, including surgical strikes,” the Army chief said in an interview on Wednesday, without giving details that would compromise India’s tactical and strategic response.

Rawat said that he would order a ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC) as soon as Pakistan stops sending militants to India.

“The Indian Army will honour the ceasefire and de-escalate tensions the day Pakistan stops sending terrorists across the line of control,” Rawat was quoted by the report as saying, referring to the 2003 agreement put in place as a confidence-building measure.

Ceasefire violations at the LoC have spiked over the last year. There were 860 such violations recorded in 2017 from either side, as compared to 271 the previous year, according to government data.

The General also had a piece of advice for the media: to not show visuals of grief-stricken family members of martyrs. “Because the media only focuses on soldiers killed by Pakistan, they build a narrative on how they have managed to inflict a blow on us.”

“All martyrs are equal, even those killed in an avalanche”, the report quoted him as saying.

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    By: KN Web Desk

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