Millennium Post

'Use of human shield not norm, situations dictate tactics'

The situation in Kashmir would normalise soon, and was not as bad was being made out in the media, army chief Bipin Rawat has said.

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat has said use of human shield is not a norm but individual officers are entitled to decide tactics depending on circumstances.

He also said India was ready for "two-and-a-half front war" in a reference to Pakistan, China and internal security threats.

"It (human shield) is not a general norm. As a practice, it is not supported. But situations would dictate. Under the circumstances, he (major Leetul Gogoi) took a decision independently. He can't look back at that stage and wait for orders. I think in his own wisdom he took the action," Rawat said.

"If somebody has any other ideas as to how to tackle such a situation, then he can pass it on to us. We will take a look at it."

Rawat was talking about the criticism he faced for his remarks defending Gogoi for tying a civilian to the bonnet of an army jeep for a safe passage through a crowd of stone-pelters in the Valley.

To CPI-M leader Prakash Karat accusing him of instigating Kashmiris to take up arms over his reported remarks that stone-pelters rather use guns, Rawat said he was misquoted.

He dismissed criticism that the army was trigger-happy and said the level of violence in Jammu and Kashmir needed to be brought down for a meaningful dialogue with stakeholders.

"Dialogue and violence cannot go together," Rawat asserted.

On Thursday morning, a soldier was killed as the army foiled an infiltration bid along the LoC in Nowgam sector.

Two militants were also killed in the operation that was on when the reports last came in.

Government estimates that around 200 militants are active in the Valley. Groups such as the Jamaat-ud-Dawa are aggressively using social media to woo youngsters.

Thirty-eight armed militants have been killed as the Army foiled a total of 22 infiltration bids along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir this year.

According to the Army, infiltration attempts have been foiled at Gurez, Machhil, Naugam and Uri sectors in the last 48 hours, in which seven armed intruders have been eliminated.

"In the current year, 22 infiltration attempts have been foiled and 34 armed intruders eliminated on the LoC," a senior Army officer said on Thursday.

The Army on Thursday accused their Pakistani counterpart of engineering infiltration of armed militant into Kashmir, saying these groups were being provided active support, including covering fire, during their infiltration bids at the Line of Control.
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