May 2016 News

Kupwara: DC Seeks Removal Of Bunkers To 'safeguard Soldiers, Civilians'

16 May 2016
Greater Kashmir
Shabir ibn Yusuf

Srinagar: In the backdrop of recent civilian killings in north Kashmir's Handwara and Kupwara areas, the District Development Commissioner has asked the Army to withdraw bunkers and posts from main markets in the twin towns while advising the concerned Senior Superintendent of Police to 'reassess the security situation and submit a report.' Three civilians were killed and scores of people injured after Army opened fire on protestors in Handwara town on April 12. The protestors had assembled to protest the alleged molestation of a girl by a Rashtriya Rifles soldier. Later, two more youth were killed, one in Army firing and another in police action. The Deputy Commissioner has written letters to General Officer Commanding (Counter Insurgency Gird) Kilo Force and General Officer Commanding Kupwara-based 28 Infantry Division, on April 13 and 18 vide No: DM-KUP-16-192-2013 The subject of one of letters is: 'Removal of Army Bunkers from Busy Market places.' A copy of the letter is with Greater Kashmir. The copies of the letters have also been sent to J&K Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Principal Secretary Home Department, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and Governor. In the letter, the DC has termed the Handwara incident as 'ugly.' 'In the present scenario when rumours spread like wild fire through media, especially social networking sites, the posts at sensitive places like Handwara-Kupwara town, situated in the crowded market places, have been of late turned into hotspots and soft targets for crowds, thus places the life our precious 'jawans' at stake. Retaliation by police-security forces to control the mob may result in loss of civilian lives as these places are always crowded,' reads the letter. 'Now therefore in view of the above and to safeguard the lives of both security forces and civilians, it is advised that Army posts may be withdrawn- shifted after consultation with concerned SSPs from the busy market places of Kupwara-Handwara. However, mobile bunkers can be utilized if necessary to protect the Army convey routes.' 'Further concerned SSPs will provide assistance for the safe passage of conveys within their jurisdiction. It is pertinent to mention, in case of Handwara, the convey does not even pass through market as it has alternate route Bypass and hence the bunkers has minimal utility at present,' adds the letter. In another letter-No. DM-KUP-16-2-13-258-70, Dated April 18, 2016-the DC has advised SSP Kupwara and Handwara to reassess the location and utility of all security posts, at the main market and road side places. He has also advised them to submit detailed report and recommendations regarding relocation-shifting of bunkers.

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