NEW DELHI, Feb. 15: Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat on Wednesday issued a strong warning to those who back terrorists during counter-insurgency operations.
"Those who obstruct our operations during encounters and aren't supportive will be treated as overground workers of terrorists," the Army chief said while to the martyred soldiers in Delhi.
General Rawat said security forces in J&K are facing higher casualties due to manner in which the local population is preventing them in conducting the operations and "at times even supporting the terrorists to escape".
"We would now request the local population that people who have picked up arms, and they are the local boys, if they want to continue with the acts of terrorism displaying flags of ISIS and Pakistan, then we will treat them as anti-national elements and go helter-skelter for them.
"They may survive today but we will get them tomorrow. Our relentless operations will continue," said the Army Chief.
General Rawat said those supporting terror activities are being given an opportunity but if they continue with their acts then security forces will come down hard on them.
"We are giving them an opportunity, should they want to continue to then, we will continue with relentless operations may be with harsher measures and that is the way to continue," he told reporters after laying wreath to the martyrs of Handwaraand Bandipora operations.
This comes in wake of the growing trend of locals disrupting counter-insurgency operations and providing cover to terrorists during encounters in the Kashmir valley.
On Tuesday, a Pakistani terrorist of Lashkar-e-Taiba managed to escape in a similar circumstance even though another one was killed during a gunfight at Hajjin area of Bandipora district in north Kashmir causing heavy causalities to the army.
Also, four soldiers including Major Satish Dahiya were martyred in two gunfights in north Kashmir.(TOI)
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