Counter-terrorism operations will continue in J&K, warns Army Chief
Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat on Tuesday warned that counter-terrorism operations against Pakistan-backed terrorists will continue in J&K.
"Such operations will continue. We will try to neutralise people involved in spreading terrorism. Our focus is to eradicate terrorism,'' General Bipin Rawat said while speaking to the reporters in Delhi.
Rawat's remarks came shortly after the security forces killed three Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists, including Maulana Masood Azhar's nephew, in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district which began Monday evening.
General Rawat asserted that aim of the Indian Army is to eradicate terrorism from the Kashmir Valley and it will do anything to achieve that goal.
In an apparent reference to Pakistan, the Army Chief said the recovery of an assault rifle used by NATO forces in Afghanistan from the slain Jaish terrorists showed that they were getting support from across the border.
"Operations are going on. As I said, the operations will continue. If any terrorists carry out activities that put the life and property of our citizens at risk, if they target any building, police station or army, they are troubling the citizens. Our attempt would be to neutralise whoever is involved in terror activities," General Rawat said.
"Whether it is the nephew of Maulana Masood or anyone else, we are concerned only with finishing terror. We are not concerned what is their religion or other things," he added.
He also highlighted the importance of improving the tunnel technology to shorten the distance in the hilly area.
He said it is important to make this tunnel as earliest as possible.
"I think we need to outsource some technology and equipment for the same. We only want that these routes to be constructed fast," he said.
The three JeM militants were killed following specific intelligence inputs about their presence in the Aglar village of Pulwama district. A joint operation was then launched by the 44 RR, Special Operations Group of the J&K Police and the Central Reserve Police Force, which cordoned off the entire village to flush out the terrorists hiding in the area.
As the cordon was being tightened, the hiding militants fired at the joint team of security forces, triggering a fierce gunfight resulting in their killing.
Earlier, the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad confirmed that three terrorists, who were gunned down by the security forces, included Maulana Masood Azhar's nephew and outfit's divisional commander.
"Three militants killed during an encounter at Kandi Aglar village of Pulwama district includes nephew of Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar and outfit's divisional commander," a JeM spokesman told in a statement.
The JeM spokesman identified Masood Azhar's nephew as commander Talha Rasheed.
Meanwhile, one security personnel Lance Naik Vrahma Pal Singh had lost his life in yesterday's encounter.
A civilian was also got injured during the operation.
M4 carbines, a shorter and lighter variant of the American origin M-16 A2 assault rifle, AK-74 rifles, pistols and matrix sheets were recovered from the slain JeM terrorists. The seizure comes days after a picture of a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist was circulated on social media holding another variant of the M-16 rifle.
The American origin gun is used by NATO forces in Afghanistan, and questions have been raised how it reached the terrorists.
The internet services had been suspended in the Pulwama district after the encounter.