Anti-terror operations: Avoid collateral damage, Azad advises security forces

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Anti-terror operations: Avoid collateral damage, Azad advises security forces
© Provided by Hindustan Times Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addressed a rally in Rajouri on Friday. (ANI)

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday advised security forces to avoid collateral damage during anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

“During counter insurgency operations, if a militant runs into a village and enters a house to hide himself, the security forces blow away the house. Then people think that forces have committed excesses. During my tenure as chief minister, I had asked the security forces to cordon off the house and wait for two days,” Azad told reporters after his rally in Rajouri.

“He (militant) will eventually come out. Once out, kill him. No doctor has said that you have to kill him the same day. So, my point is, forces should avoid collateral damage,” he added.

To another query, he said, since the central government has agreed upon elections and statehood for Jammu and Kashmir, he wanted exclusive rights of locals to jobs and land.

“Till the Supreme Court decides on Article 370, we want the government to guarantee exclusive right to jobs and land to the locals in the statehood bill, which it intends to bring in the Parliament,” he said.

“We don’t have to do anything with Article 35-A, but only include these two key issues in the statehood bill,” he said.

“The case (on Article 370) is sub-judice in court and if the decision comes after five years then we may lose all jobs and our land to the outsiders. Therefore, incorporate these two issues in the statehood bill so that outsiders don’t get jobs and purchase our land,” he added.

Earlier at the rally, Azad again urged people to raze the walls of hatred before the next assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, and elect secular leaders.

“When you take ill and need blood, do you ask if the blood being administered to you belongs to a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Gujjar or a Pahari. Humanity should be the religion of all. Therefore, elect secular leaders on the basis of their humanity and not those who do communal politics,” he said.

The political parties in Jammu and Kashmir anticipate assembly polls in June next year, following the completion of the delimitation exercise in March.

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