Published On: Mon, Dec 25th, 2023

Gen Manoj Pande reviews operations in Poonch, exhorts Commanders to remain resolute

New Delhi: Army chief General Manoj Pande visited Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch sector on Monday to review the security situation in the wake of a deadly encounter with terrorists that also sparked allegations of civilian killings by the army.

General Pande interacted with the commanders on the ground

The army said on its official X-post handle that General Pande interacted with the commanders on the ground and exhorted them to conduct the operations in the most professional manner and remain resolute and steadfast against all challenges.

The visit came after four army soldiers were killed in an encounter with the terrorists in Dera Ki Gali area of Bafliaz on December 21. The terrorists had targeted a Gypsy and a truck of the army in the area and mutilated the bodies of the slain soldiers before fleeing with their weapons. A massive search operation has been launched in Poonch and Rajouri districts to track down the terrorists.

However, the encounter also triggered a controversy as three civilians were allegedly killed by the army after they were picked up from their village near the encounter site. Locals alleged that the slain civilians had been tortured and killed by the army.

The J&K government has ordered a probe into the incident and announced compensation for the slain civilians. The next of kin of the victims have been assured a government job as part of the compensation. The police have also registered an FIR into the civilian killings and started investigating the matter.

The army has shifted the brigade commander and a Colonel rank officer from the area following the allegations. The army has said that it will cooperate with the inquiry into the incident and asserted that the protection of civilian lives and property has always been its first priority while fighting terrorism in J&K.

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