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Security forces fire to kill, says Centre

As the Kashmir valley continued to be on the edge for eighth day in a row with death toll reaching 43 on Saturday, a highly placed source in the Centre defended the action of security agencies saying their approach was either “black or white” and it did not want to create any ambiguity in the minds of the public. Over 3100 people, including a large number of security forces have been injured in the violence in little more than a week.

The source said the Centre had the support of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in Jammu and Kashmir on this issue. The source added that the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter might have triggered the unrest but a volatile condition had been building up in the valley for quite some time now.

On being asked whether the government was expecting such a huge backlash following Wani’s death and whether they could have contained the protests, the source said, “Just because we had the knowledge, doesn’t mean that we could have prevented it (the unrest.). If the protestors are not stopped now, there would be provocation at the next level. The security forces fire to kill. It’s either white or black. We do not want to create any ambiguity in the minds of the public. Let people know their defined areas, our responsibility lies in enforcing the law that has come through the ballot box.”

The source said while people had a right to peaceful protests, any violation of the law would have to be dealt with firmly.

“No excess has been done by security forces. Democracy cannot withstand violence else country would have been in a state of anarchy. There was no firing, no use of force and no lathicharge,” said the source.

Expressing the Centre's resolve to deal firmly with militancy, the source said if a mob attacks security personnel, it would have to be dealt with accordingly.

The source said there was definitive information about the presence of Wani and two others in a Pulwama village and in the ensuing encounter they were killed on July 8.

“Merely because someone is self-styled, high-profile commander of a terrorist organisation, it does not mean security forces would let him get away. Which means that low profile terrorists should only be killed? If he was not killed now, he would have become a bigger problem for us in say 2017 or 2019,” said the source.

Asked about the possibility of a dialogue with separatists such as Hurriyat, the source replied that the day they (Hurriyat) are independent and have the autonomy of decision-making without any fear “we can talk to them”.

The source suggested that Hurriyat leaders were under the influence of Pakistan and were also speaking out of fear factor.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 7:19:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Security-forces-fire-to-kill-says-Centre/article14492969.ece

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