The Jammu & Kashmir government has issued an advisory that urges people to stay away from troubled areas for their own safety. This comes a day after Army Chief Bipin Rawat said that the security forces will not hesitate to fire at stonepelters. The advisory has been issued because it has often been noticed that local mobs try to shield terrorists, which reduces the effectiveness of counter-insurgency operations in J&K. In some cases, it even helps the terrorists escape, while resulting in deaths or injuries among security forces. The advisory seeks to inform people that if they do not want to be harmed, they need to stay away from spots where encounters take place between the security forces and the militants.
Bipin Rawat’s statement has been criticized by local politicians, saying that such action will further destabilize the situation in J&K. These politicians said that the youth in the state are fighting for Kashmir’s freedom. However, from a security perspective, the armed forces do have the right to protect themselves if faced with a life endangering situation. Security forces cannot be expected to drop their weapons and stand openly to take on the bullets of terrorists, said an official on condition of anonymity.