Lessons from 2018: Police to avoid blowing of houses in gunfights

Our strategy is minimum collateral damage during encounters, damaging residential houses only in very extreme situations, say ADGP Munir Khan

Srinagar, January 22: With no let up in the encounters in the first month of year 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir Police Tuesday said that of late encounters are taking place after the militants are being zeroed in orchards or open fields and that “strategy was that no residential house would be damaged till situation terms extremely dangerous.”

“The recent encounters took place in orchards or after militant hide-outs were busted in fields or orchards. That is why residential houses suffered no damage in these gunfights,” Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Munir Khan told KNO in an exclusive chat.

He said that police will ensure to avoid the residential houses where in militants take shelter or refuge after being zeroed in by the forces.

“We never want to damage the residential house. That will happen in the very extreme situations. I would say that would happen when water would flow over the head,” the ADGP said.

“Our endeavour is to eliminate militants in most professional manner without any collateral damage. Directions have been issued to officer to avoid damage or blowing up of residential houses and to give a chance to militants to come out and surrender.”

According to rights activists, at least 121 residential houses were damaged in year 2018 that saw the killing of 250 militants of various militant outfits that include Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Al-Badr, and Ansaar Gazwatul Hind. The killing of 250 militants is highest ever in a decade.

In January 2019, 11 encounters took place and majority of them occurred in open fields. The latest two encounters are a case in point—in Hapatnar area of Charar-e-Shareef, militants took positions in dense forest and after 12 hours three militants were killed without any collateral damage, according to police.

Similarly, police said in the Heff village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district, militants engaged forces in an open field after which three militants were killed. “Here also there was no collateral damage and militant hide-out was in the orchard,” police said.(KNO)