August 2016 News

Army To Move Convoys During Day From Today

18 August 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)

Srinagar: For the first time following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani, the Army has decided to move its convoys during day time from Friday. General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen Satish Dua said the decision to move convoys during the day time had nothing to do with the wee-hour militant ambush on a convoy in north Kashmir. 'The Army was moving during the nights not because we could not take care of roads for the movement of convoys. We were moving during the nights essentially for two reasons: One to avoid any collateral damage and second because of the Haj period - till Friday there is a lot of vehicular movements on the road leading to Bemina. Not to inconvenience the public, we had decided that till August 18 or 19, we will move in such a manner that we will not cause any inconvenience to the people who had come to see off their friends and relatives for the Haj,' Lt Gen Dua told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Srinagar. 'As it is we were to move during the day from Friday onwards and that is coming into effect. That has nothing to do with the attack on the convoy.' Lt Gen Dua said roads will be secured for the civil and Army convoy movement. On the present unrest in the region following the killing of the militant commander last month, the Corps Commander said the situation was 'far from normal'. 'Initially the protests were spontaneous. Thereafter, we have seen a cycle of engineered violence, more in north Kashmir of late. Now things are cooling down in terms of protests,' he said, adding that not all protests were violent. He said the Army's mandate was to dominate the areas in the hinterland and make sure these remain free of militants. 'As far as the law and order situation is concerned, the police and CRPF are handling it well,' Lt Gen Dua said. He said his order, which was to exercise restraint to the last, was clear. The Corps Commander, however, said there were many instances when militants fired from behind stone-throwers. He urged the Kashmiri youths to take Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's word seriously and give peace a chance. On infiltration, he said there had been attempts from across the border to push more militants thinking that they were busy with internal disturbance. 'There have been many gunfights and in many cases they (militants) have been pushed back during infiltration bids,' he said. The GOC said it was difficult to reveal as to how many youths had joined militancy after the present unrest began. He added that both the state government and Army should try to stop the cycle of violence He said the Army does not get involved in law and order situation at all. 'Whenever we go for patrolling, we take law and order component along with us, be it the police, CRPF or both,' he said.