Bullets can’t tell difference, civilians responsible for their deaths at encounter sites: J&K Police Chief

Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid urged the state’s youth to stay away from encounter sites to avoid becoming casualties.

Civilians thronging encounter sites are responsible for their deaths as bullets don’t distinguish between a stone pelter and a militant, Jammu and Kashmir police chief S P Vaid said on Thursday as he again urged youth to stay away from such places as they were not marriage venues.

Nobody wants civilian deaths and the police and security forces are pained at such incidents, he emphasised.

“We have been appealing to young boys to stay away from encounter sites. A bullet does not distinguish between a stone pelter and a militant. It has a trajectory to hit. They are responsible for their own deaths. They should not come to encounter sites”, Vaid said in a live Twitter question-answer session.

He was replying to a question posed by oneTajamul Wani about civilian deaths in gunfights.

The strong words from the senior officer came a day after four civilians were killed in the crossfire in an encounter in Kulgam district. An Army-man also died in the line of duty while the three militants managed to flee after civilian casualties increased.

“No citizen of India would like any civilian killing. We have been repeatedly requesting people not to come near the encounter sites when bullets fly whether from the militants or from the Army, from paramilitary force and police. They have a trajectory. They will not look for the chest of a particular person. They can hit anybody so it is advisable not to come near the encounter sites,” DGP Vaid said.

It pains me most and pains all the forces when a civilian dies, he added.

“Our effort is not even a single civilian should get hurt, but they have no business to be there. Marriage of the militant is not going on. Why are these boys coming near the militant encounter sites,” he lamented.

Four civilians, and a soldier, were killed on Wednesday in an encounter in Kulgam’s Khudwani village — the latest in a spate of deadly gunfights that threaten to push Kashmir into a spiral of protests for the third straight summer.

Official accounts and news reports show that since the beginning of 2018, 22 civilians were killed in the crossfire during gunfights and protests.

In a bid to reduce civilian interference at encounter sites, the government in January said it could offer amnesty to youth who have been booked in cases of stone pelting.

Responding to a question on the pending FIRs, Vaid said the police had already moved the concerned courts in such cases.

In some of the cases, parents were supposed to come and approach police stations and give an undertaking, he added.

To a question about solution of the Kashmir problem, he said violence was not the answer.

“I personally feel that the gun is not the solution. Everybody concerned including our neighbour (Pakistan), and only way out is to sit together and talk it out and sort it out and gun is not a solution and violence is not a solution”, he said.

Vaid said his most challenging task was post the Burhan Wani episode because as Special DG law and order to deal with the situation.

On the internet blockades, the DGP said “my effort is to minimum disruption of internet. I am totally against it. But let me tell you there is mischief and misuse of it to spread hatred and false propaganda. This is what we want to prevent”.

We want minimum disruption of education of children from Kashmir valley and we will ensure it, he added.