Srinagar: The Army on Sunday advised people not to march to its headquarters on Monday in response to a call by separatists following the killing of seven civilians a day earlier.
“Security forces make every attempt to avoid any loss of civilian lives in cross-fire and minimize collateral damage to property. Loss of any civilian life is always painful for the security forces,” the Army said in a statement.
The statement came a day after seven civilians including two minors were killed when security forces opened fire at protesters after a gun battle that left three militants and a soldier dead in a village in Pulwama district.
The statement said: “The Indian Army along with all the security agencies and the civil administration is fighting terrorism and proxy war sponsored by Pakistan and its proxies in Kashmir.
“The objective of the security forces is to bring peace and normalcy in the Valley with the support of the people.
“Security forces have eliminated a large number of terrorists trying to infiltrate along the Line of Control and neutralized an even larger number in the hinterland this year to improve the overall security situation, making huge sacrifices themselves.
“These terrorists were involved in many cases of gruesome killings of innocent Kashmiris including civilians, SPOs, police personnel and other security forces personnel on leave,” the Army said.
It said that while security forces make every attempt to avoid civilian deaths, “vested interests are continuously at work to instigate and mobilise gullible youths to (go to) encounter sites”.
The Army said that the call given by the separatist Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) for a march to the Badami Bagh Cantonment on Monday was another such attempt.
“Indian Army strongly condemns this call by Pakistan Proxies and advises people not to fall prey to such designs of anti-national forces.
“Indian Army is always with the people of Kashmir and would foil all such evil attempts of terrorist-separatist-Pakistan nexus to pit the civilian population against the security forces.
“The public is again advised not to pay heed to this misleading call (to march to Army HQ),” it said.