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JammuJ-K civilian deaths : Conduct ops professionally: Army Chief to commanders

J-K civilian deaths : Conduct ops professionally: Army Chief to commanders


: Army Chief General Manoj Pande visited Jammu and on Monday and exhorted commanders to conduct operations in the “most professional manner” amid an outrage over the alleged killing of three civilians picked up by the force for questioning following a terrorist attack in Poonch last week that left four soldiers dead.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), who visited the ground zero in Poonch-Rajouri sector where a massive anti-terrorism operation is underway, also asked the troops to remain resolute and steadfast against all challenges.

In a related development, the Army initiated a Court of Inquiry as the police lodged a murder case (under Section 302 of the IPC) against unnamed persons over the death of the three civilians, sources said. The three civilians, aged between 27 and 42, were picked up by the Army for questioning after the terrorist ambushed two Army vehicles on Thursday at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Baffliaz in Surankote, Poonch. The three were found dead on December 22.

General Pande's visit holds importance as there has been anger among locals over the alleged custodial deaths. Sending out a strong message that it has taken a serious note of the death of the three civilians, the Army has also replaced some senior officers in the region after a purported video of the civilians' interrogation went viral. An Army spokesperson said, “General Manoj Pande visited the Poonch sector and was given an update on the prevalent security situation.” Lt General Upendra Dwivedi, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Northern Command, and Lt General Sandeep Jain, GOC of Nagrota-based White Knight Corps, were among those present during the visit.

It has been reliably learnt that the Army Chief laid stress on intelligence-sharing with other agencies and coordination with the J&K Police. He also asked commanders to focus on the use of during search operation in dense forest areas. He asked the officers to ensure that the killers of four soldiers do not escape.

Intense combing operations are underway in the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch after four soldiers were ambushed in Surankote. The bodies of two soldiers were reportedly mutilated.

The mobile Internet services in both districts remained suspended for the third day on Monday. The militants are suspected to have access to the Internet as they shared the of the attack, captured from body cameras, on social media.

Meanwhile, Mohd Sadiq, a relative of one of the deceased civilians, said the three men were picked up by the troops accompanied by policemen Mohd Rafiq and Mohd Rashid along with their sources Jagi and Ganesh in the full public gaze. He sought inclusion of the concerned Army major, policemen and the Army sources in the FIR.

Combing operation on for five days

General Manoj Pande reviewed the anti-terrorist operation going on in Surankote, Poonch, and nearby Rajouri district's Thanamandi forest belt for the last five days to neutralise the terrorists behind the dastardly attack on December 21.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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