The Army on Thursday said it regrets the death of a lecturer in thrashing by soldiers in Khrew area of Pulwama district last night and has ordered an inquiry into the "incident." It also said law and order wasn't its domain and that its primary objective was to "fight militants."
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a passing-out parade at JAKLI Centre at Rangreth, General Officer Commanding of Army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua, regretted the Khrew killing and said a probe has been ordered.
"The incident is regrettable. It was joint patrol and one death has taken place. I am aware of it. We will investigate into the matter," he said.
On the ongoing unrest, the GoC said whatever has happened over the past 40 days is highly unfortunate.
About the change in timing of Army convoys, he said their cavalcades would ply during the night not because they can't secure roads and highways. "The decision was to avoid inconvenience to public. The decision to allow Army convoys to ply during nights was valid till August 19 only and you will see traffic will play normally including the convoy vehicles from tomorrow onwards," he said.
On reports of Army being called out to handle the Kashmir situation, the Army commander said "our role is limited to security and anti-militancy operations in Kashmir. The law and order continues to be the responsibility of the state police and CRPF.
He said sometimes when soldiers come under stone pelting, "we need local police to resolve the situation." He said the army has carried out many anti-militancy operations in Kashmir since the "ongoing cycle of violence started here."
Asked if more youths had joined the ranks of militants after the present uprising began, the GoC Dua said he would not be able to comment on the number of new recruits into militancy. "Some youth are on the run to escape detention. So I have no figures on how many have joined militancy in the past 40 days," he said. "Many youth involved in stone pelting do not sleep in their homes for fear of arrest by police. It is not, therefore, possible to say if such youths also became part of militancy."
Asked to suggest measures for bringing peace in Kashmir, he referred to recent remarks of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that peace be given a chance. "I also urge the youth to give peace a chance as this (stone pelting) won't lead to anything," he said.
He also said it was for the State government to initiate dialogue once the peace returns. Meanwhile, army's spokesman in Srinagar, Lt Colonel N N Joshi said Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regimental Centre on Thursday witnessed the passing out parade of 308 new recruits.