New Delhi: As the number of deaths go up in Jammu & Kashmir, the Union Government has decided to deploy the army in the troubled Valley. After more than two months of non-stop protests across the Valley and beyond, there is no sign of the agitation abetting anytime soon.
In the meantime there are clear signs that the army is set to be deployed in the Kashmir Valley. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh while talking to reporters in Goa said that the situation in the valley was “under better control than earlier” and “will be under complete control” in coming days.
His comment came as there were signs of more paramilitary troopers being sent to the valley and the army was being deployed in south Kashmir, the hub of the ongoing unrest on the streets. However, the army, which is neither trained in nor equipped with non-lethal weapons, has been told not to get into mob control and react only in “self-defense” if their pickets and camps are attacked by stone-pelting protesters.
Reports suggest that the Army is expected to take on the terrorists who have infiltrated in the state from across the border. It is being said that the army is planning to launch a major offensive against militants believed to have crossed over from Pakistan and are fanning trouble in the aftermath of the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. At least 76 persons have been killed and over 12,000 injured in the violent unrest.
On the other hand the Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the increased deployment of troops was for anti-terror activities as the “army does not act in internal matters unless asked by the local authority”. “The local civil administration will have to ask (for) the army there like it happened in Haryana, where the (Jat) agitation took place. When the local administration called the army in, we went there only then and followed the orders of the local administration. We don’t operate anywhere internally on our own,” Parrikar said.
Meanwhile in a sign of increased activity on the ground, Army chief General Dalbir Singh on Friday reviewed the security situation in the valley, especially in the south, defence sources said here. He also visited forward areas along the Line of Control in Kupwara district. The street agitation, security restrictions, and separatist-called shutdown have disrupted normal life in the valley for 62 days now. Shops, businesses, schools and private and government offices have remained closed since July 9 – a day after Wani’s killing. The curfew, largely removed since the beginning of this week, was re-imposed on Friday as the authorities feared more violence. But people at various places in Srinagar, south and north Kashmir regions defied the restrictions to march on the streets, shouting anti-government and pro-freedom slogans.