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Kashmir: Time to Review Operational Strategy to Prevent Civilian Casualties

On 15 December, there were 11 fatalities in South Kashmir in a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) which included seven civilians, three Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists and an army soldier. Twenty civilians were injured in the firing by security forces to prevent them from closing in and disrupting the ongoing encounter. Of the casualties, there is justified concern over the death of the seven civilians which included young lives. “Pained by the unnecessary and avoidable loss of civilian lives in the (Pulwama) operation, the governor appealed to the people to keep a distance from areas where anti-militancy operations are in progress. He appealed to them not to go near such areas during or immediately after such operations”, a statement from the office of the Governor stated. “Governor also directed divisional commissioner, Kashmir to inquire into the incident that happened in Pulwama today and suggest precautions to minimise civilian casualties in anti-militancy operations,” the statement read. The Governor issued an instruction to the security forces that they should, “give time to people to evacuate from an area during an anti-militancy operation as per the laid down SOP”.However, in recent incidents in the Valley, rather than evacuating, civilians are known to close in on the encounter site to disrupt the encounters. ............What then can be done?........................... [800 words]

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Helpline 1090
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