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  India   All India  28 Dec 2023  Rajnath assures justice to kin of 3 slain civilians

Rajnath assures justice to kin of 3 slain civilians

THE ASIAN AGE. | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published : Dec 28, 2023, 12:41 am IST
Updated : Dec 28, 2023, 12:41 am IST

Says Army will wipe out terrorism, must avoid ‘mistakes’

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visits a civilian allegedly injured in military custody, at Government Medical College in Jammu & Kashmir, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023. (PTI)
 Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visits a civilian allegedly injured in military custody, at Government Medical College in Jammu & Kashmir, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023. (PTI)

 Srinagar: Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, on Wednesday lauded the Army's role in securing the borders of the country and fighting valiantly against the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir alongside other security forces.

But he also sought to drive home other “big responsibility on your shoulders” which is to “win the hearts of the countrymen” and “not to repeat the mistakes that might hurt any countryman” --  an obvious reference to the death of three residents in the custody of the Army in the Poonch district of the Union Territory last week.

While speaking to troops in Rajouri, the defence minister said, “We will win war and any type of battle too. We will wipe out terrorists as well. But along with it we have to win the hearts of our countrymen too. You have a huge responsibility on your shoulders”.

He added, “I know apart from guarding the country’s borders you are making efforts in this direction as well, but sometimes a mistake does take place. Such mistakes, that may hurt any citizen of the country, should not happen.”

During his interaction with the jawans and officers of the Army and other security forces, Mr. Singh lauded their role in securing the borders of the country and fighting valiantly against the terrorists in J&K.

He said that the Indian Army is not an ordinary army but is counted among the best armies of the world for a variety of reasons. “Apart from being the guardian of India’s frontiers and playing a profound role in nation-building, your role in tackling the losses of people during natural calamities is acknowledged by the entire world,” he said. He added, “The people believe that the Indian army has become more powerful than it was in the past. It has become well-equipped compared to the past. The security of the country is in your hands.”

During his visit, the defence minister obtained firsthand knowledge about the massive counterinsurgency operations underway in the frontier region for the past seven days. The operations were launched jointly by the Army, the J&K police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to track down what the officials say are “dreaded Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists” who ambushed two vehicles – a Gypsy and 1 ton truck- of the 48 Rashtriya Rifles at Dera ki Gali, an area of Poonch surrounded by dense forests, on December 21, leaving four soldiers dead and three others critically wounded.

Following the deadly terror attack, the Army had detained more than a dozen residents of neighbouring Topa Pir and Bafliaz areas and allegedly subjected them to severe beatings that resulted in the death of three of them and injuries to ten others.

Amid widespread public outrage over these “custodial deaths” and facing severe criticism by opposition political parties and human rights groups, the Army on Sunday removed four of its officers including Brigadier Padam Acharya, Brigade Commander of the Rashtriya Rifles, and attached for a Staff Court of Inquiry. The Army had earlier said that ‘internal inquiry’ has been ordered into the incident.

The J&K government had at the weekend said that “legal action” in this matter has been initiated by the appropriate authority. It also announced compensation for each of the deceased and compassionate appointments to the next of their kin. The Army pledged “full support and cooperation” in the investigation.

Tags: rajnath singh, indian army, civilian casualty
Location: India, Jammu and Kashmir