Civilian houses near boundary walls of army camps a problem: Nirmala Sitharaman

The defence minister said she was studying the scenario and would come up with a solution.

Construction of civilian houses adjacent to the boundary wall of Army camps is a problem across the country, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

The minister was in Jammu to visit the people injured in Saturday’s terror attack on the Army camp in Sunjuwan.

“Civil constructions are taking place near the boundary walls (of army camps across the country) and it is getting difficult to remove these constructions because these are taking place with permission.

“I am studying the scenario in the entire country and will definitely come out with a solution,” she told reporters here.

Asked about her stand on the state government’s amnesty for stone pelters, Sitharaman said, “I think first-time offenders were given amnesty and I am aware of that”.

On filing of an FIR against an Army major over the killing of three civilians in Shopian last month, she said the case is “sub-judice” and the Supreme Court in response to the father of the officer had given a stay of 15 days on the FIR.

“We have to see how it goes and we stand by our proud soldiers. In the call of duty if they have performed something, (it) still has to be contextualised and that is something on which I understand. I am not sure yet, but subject to verification, the defence ministry will respond to the Supreme Court,” she said.

Sitharaman assured full support to the Army and said, “The ministry of defence, me as the defence minister, and the Government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership will not let anybody down.”

“The Army is working under severe duress and we are conscious about it,” she said.