Srinagar: A day after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat issued a strong warning to stone-pelters, the Jammu and Kashmir government of Mehbooba Mufti has issued an advisory, asking people to stay away from the encounter areas.
Reports on Friday said that the state government has made sensitive places like encounter sites as no-go areas for commoners.
The J&K government advisory came a day after Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat warned of tough action against people hampering counter-militancy operations in Kashmir.
Rawat had on Wednesday said that stone-pelters would be treated as “overground workers of terrorists” and would thereby face the same punishment as that meted out to Jihadis.
In view of rising gunfights between the security forces and armed militants, the state government’s advisory cautioned people not to assemble within a 2 km radius of an encounter site.
The Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir, Baseer Ahmed Khan, was quoted as saying by Indian Express that such an advisory was issued last year too, ordering people to stay home when there is trouble.
Khan said rules against people’s assembly under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code would be strictly enforced around encounter sites.
The move is meant to prevent assembly of mobs who have been known to indulge in stone-throwing to provide cover to militants and hamper the security forces.
Khan said more measures would be taken to prevent people from staging protests and triggering clashes to engage security personnel to provide cover for militants to escape.
Whenever an encounter takes place between militants and security forces, people of the locality march to the site and engage the forces with stone-throwing.
Gen. Rawat had said on Wednesday that people creating hurdles during anti-militancy operations and displaying flags of Pakistan and ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir would be dealt with harshly.
The main opposition party, National Conference has, however, criticised the Army Chief for his tough talk.
In his response to the Rawat’s remarks, hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said Army Chief’s tough words were typical of the Indian government’s “arrogance”.
Meanwhile, militant-turned-separatist and chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yasin Malik termed the statement of Army Chief as a case of “political immaturity”.
He said that Army Chief’s statement amounts to direct threat to the whole “Kashmiri nation.”