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Youth coming to encounter sites are committing suicide: J&K police chief

Srinagar: Youths who storm the encounter sites in the Valley to hurl stones at security personnel are committing suicide, Jammu and Kashmir Police today said and appealed to them to refrain from such activity.

“In the encounter, even security forces and police take cover of a bulletproof vehicle or a house. Youths coming to the encounter sites are committing suicide,” Director General of Police SP Vaid told reporters in Srinagar.

He appealed to the youngsters not to rush to the encounter sites, saying they were being misled and misused by elements inimical to peace in the Valley for their short-term political gains.

“A bullet does not whom it will hit. My appeal to all theyoung boys is that they should remain in their homes and not come to encounter sites. The youth must understand that they are being used by people for their short-term political gains,” he said.

The DGP said the inimical elements were misusing social media to instigate the youths to hurl stones at security forces to help militants flee.

“I would say this is misuse of social media by elements inimical to peace in the valley and to our country.

“The moment an encounter starts, they activate around 300 WhatsApp groups, each having more than 250 members, and other social networking websites like Facebook, instigating young boys to reach the encounter site and throw stones so that the terrorists escape from the spot,” he said.

The J&K top cop said these WhatsApp groups and other social media accounts were being monitored and action will be taken against people operating them.

“Some of these accounts have been traced across (the border). It is an attempt by the enemies of India to create problems. All these numbers are being monitored and we will

take action against those operating them from here,” he said.

The DGP urged the people to think about the families of those who lost their lives during the incidents of stone-pelting recently.

“Think of the mother, father, sister or brother of those who died two days ago. People will forget those who died after 10 days. Their family suffers the most. We all would be doing our jobs,” he said.

Vaid said the new trend was a challenge, but the security forces will deal with it.

“It is a challenging situation, but we keep evolving our strategy and I am sure with our experience of last 25 years, Jammu and Kashmir Police and other security forces will be able to handle a situation like this.

“In spite of grave provocation, we have been able to minimise collateral damage and civilian casualties,” he said.

On the local boys joining militant ranks, the DGP said it was also a challenge.

“These boys are being brainwashed and radicalised. It is a challenge for all of us. Ultimately, where does it lead to? Death and destruction. Nothing will change other than death and destruction. What will they achieve out of it,” he said.

On the likelihood of unrest during the forthcoming summer in Kashmir, Vaid said he did not think people of Kashmir would want a repeat of last year’s summer agitation.

“People of Kashmir do not want trouble this season. They have already suffered last summer,” he said.

The DGP said the recent attacks on security forces and incidents of stone pelting were handiwork of the elements who work at the behest of the enemy of this country.

“This is an attempt to derail the democratic process as (by) elections are around the corner,” he added.

PTI