KD NEWS SERVICE
JAMMU, Dec 27: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said he had full faith in the Indian Army that it will wipe out terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir, even as he urged the troops to not make any such ”mistakes” that may hurt the citizens of the country.
It is the responsibility of the troops to win the hearts of the people while performing their duty towards the security of the nation, said Singh, who arrived in Jammu and Kashmir earlier in the day to review the security situation.
Singh is on a day-long visit to Rajouri and Jammu following a terrorist ambush in Poonch.
The minister’s statement comes amid the outrage that sparked in the wake of three civilians being found dead in Poonch district on December 22 allegedly after they were picked up by the security forces for questioning in connection with an ambush on two army vehicles that had left four soldiers dead a day earlier.
The defence minister, accompanied by Army chief General Manoj Pande and Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, flew to Rajouri district soon after his arrival in Jammu to review the security situation, especially in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch where terror attacks and infiltration attempts from across the Line of Control (LoC) have witnessed a spike this year.
Addressing the troops at a military garrison in Rajouri, the defence minister lauded the troops for their bravery.
”I believe in your bravery and steadfastness … Terrorism should be finished from Jammu and Kashmir and you need to move forward with this commitment. I have full faith that you will achieve victory,” Singh, flanked by General Pande and Lt Governor, said.
Four soldiers died and three others were injured when their vehicles were ambushed by terrorists at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Buffliaz in the Surankote area of Poonch on December 21.
Three civilians, aged between 27 and 42, were allegedly picked up by the army for questioning following the attack. They were found dead the next day. Soon, video clips purportedly of torture of the detained civilians went viral on the social media.
”Such incidents (ambush) cannot be taken for granted. I know you are alert to the situation but feel more alertness is required. I want to assure you that the government stands with you and your welfare is our top priority,” Singh said.
In an apparent reference to the killing of three civilians, the defence minister asked the troops to avoid ”mistakes that hurt the citizens of the country.” ”The Indian Army is not considered an ordinary force in the world. The people accept that the Army is much more powerful than ever and also well-equipped compared to the past. You are the guardians of the nation but alongside protecting the country, you need to win the hearts of the citizens. It is a big responsibility on your shoulders,” the minister said.
”There is a need to do it with more seriousness and it can be achieved by meeting the people, listening to their problems and raising those issues at appropriate level for redressal,” he said.
Singh paid his tributes to the fallen soldiers and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured personnel.
”I want to assure you that given the seriousness of the incident, required and appropriate steps would be taken. For us, every soldier is a part of the family and his life is very precious … any one eyeing our soldiers is not acceptable to us,” he said.
”The government treasury is open for further beefing up the security and the intelligence gathering,” he said.
”The sacrifice of the soldiers is unparalleled and cannot be compensated with money. The void can never be fulfilled,” he added. (Agencies)