Mehbooba downplays BJP, urges security forces to scale down counter-insurgency operations

Srinagar, May 13: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday chaired the Unified Headquarters meeting and asked security forces to scale down counter-insurgency operations during the Muslim fasting month of Ramazan, which begins next week. Senior officers of various security agencies, however, told the Chief Minister they will “think over” about the proposal after considering its practicability, sources said.

The meeting of Unified Headquarters, which is a command centre comprising the heads of all security agencies, was called by the Chief Minister to review the security scenario. It took place days after the all-party meeting here which had urged the Central government to announce a ceasefire.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta, Chief Secretary BB Vyas, GoC-in-C Northern Command Lt Gen Devraj Anbu and Principal Secretary, Home, RK Goyal. The commanders of Army’s 9 Corps, 14 Corps, 15 Corps and 16 Corps, Director General of Police SP Vaid, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Rohit Kansal, Special DG CRPF, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and Inspectors General of J&K Police, BSF and CRPF were present at the meeting.

The sources said Mehbooba advised the security agencies to exercise restraint and strictly ensure safety and security of people and their property during the counter-insurgency operations. She also expressed concern over increasing civilian casualties during the counter-insurgency operations and subsequent protests.

She asked the officers to find a way out to avert such killings. The Chief Minister also expressed concern over increasing recruitment of local youth to militant ranks and also the joining of an increasing number of educated youth. The officers told the Chief Minister that the civilian killings during counter-insurgency operations were a result of stone-throwing and instigation.

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