Governor Reprimands Govt Forces Over Civilian Killings

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SRINAGAR — Governor S P Malik and his security advisor, Vijay Kumar, have reprimanded the government forces for the kill­ing of seven civilians during an encounter at village Sirnoo on Saturday.

Three local militants were also killed in the encoun­ter. Following this, the forces in Kashmir have stated redraw­ing their encounter strategy to prevent repeat of Pulwama-like incident.

Reliable sources revealed that forces were ‘rep­rimanded’ by the Governor. They, however, said that at Sir­noo the encounter took place in an open field, where youth from all directions tried to march towards the “spot where militants were cornered” and in the heavy exchange of firing seven civilians got killed.

The killing of seven civilians triggered a three-day long shut­down in Kashmir amid protests. Governor Malik has now asked forces to follow the standard operational procedure (SOP) in true “letter and spirit.” Gover­nor’s advisor Vijay Kumar too chaired a meeting in Jammu and passed similar directions to the forces. “Follow the SoP to ensure civilian causalities don’t occur,” he told the forces.

Sources said that the “security agencies have been in a huddle since past many days to find out what went wrong in Sirnoo.”

“It has unanimously been decided that the law and or­der component will be further strengthened to deal with the protesters who try to crowd closer to the encounter sites in a bid to help militants flee,” the source said. “All the measures will be taken to redraw the SOPs, to prevent collateral damage.”

A top police officer confirmed that police, CRPF and the army top officials have held a series of meetings to redraw the SoPs and “to ensure no civilian cau­sality takes place during coun­ter insurgency operations.”

“Various layers of cordons will be further strengthened to ensure zero collateral damage. As far as blowing up of houses is concerned, forces only resort to that when there is a firing from the other side,” he said.

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