|Early Times Report|
JAMMU, Feb 16: Is the Union Government's policy towards the deadly stone-throwers in Kashmir changing? If that Wednesday statement of the Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, and today's statement of Minister of State, Home, Kiren Rijiju, are any indications, then the answer seems to be yes.
On Wednesday, General Rawat said that "Pakistani flags were anti-national" and those who would create hindrance for the Army during the anti-insurgency operation would be considered terrorists and they would be treated as such. Acknowledging that the "hostile conduct of locals" was causing higher casualties in the Kashmir Valley, General Rawat warned "those attacking security forces during anti-militancy of tough action". This strong and unambiguous message from the Army Chief came a day after four army personnel, including a Major, were martyred in two separate encounters in Kashmir. Three soldiers faced heavy stone-pelting at Parr
y Mohalla of Bandipora, Kashmir, when they were about to launch an operation against militants holed up there.
There should be stern action against the stone pelters and whoever works against national interest as national interest is supreme.There is nothing wrong in the Army Chief's statement.
Today, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju swung solidly behind the Army chief and took on those who questioned the General's warning. Endorsing the Army Chief's statement on tough action against those creating hurdles during anti-terror operations in Kashmir, Kiren Rijiju said that country's interest is supreme. "There should be action against the stone pelters and whoever works against national interest as national interest is supreme," he told reporters. "Whatever the Army Chief has said, he has said that in national interest. There is no need to misinterpret it. There is nothing wrong in the Army Chief's statement," he said. The Kashmir-based National Conference today termed as "tragic" the Army Chief's warning of tough action against stone-pelters and asked the government to engage "politically the alienated" youths of Kashmir.