‘Not Human Shield, it is cover’: Indian Army on using civilians in military operations

Srinagar: In an interaction that took place between the Army and Kashmiri youths at Town Hall Pulwama on Sunday, one of the Kashmiri youths asked why the army is “destroying the houses during the encounters and why the police are punishing locals if they want to rebuild the house of the person destroyed in the encounter”.

During the dialogue the youth also asked the Army why it takes civilians as a human shield during military operations.

“When a militant is trapped in someone’s house, you push a civilian into the house. Why don’t you think that militant could fire upon the civilian? You call them terrorists. Fine. A terrorist is one who terrorizes. But when you push a civilian in the same house where a militant is trapped, why you think the militant will not fire on the civilian. That means he is not a terrorist,” says the youth.

“It is not a human shield. It is cover that no one levels allegations at your army tomorrow. In the house, there are mothers and sisters. If the army enters the house without you then tomorrow it can be said they took away something from there, or they misbehaved with someone. We don’t want to fire on terrorists all of a sudden. Once the situation develops what should he do. He should come out and don’t cause collateral damage to another,” the Army officer said.

Another youth asked when a person takes a gun in his hand and becomes a militant, why Indian army is then targeting his locality and his family.

“We have also seen people of a locality at a community level after encounter collecting funds to help a person whose house gets destroyed in the encounter to construct his house. We have seen these very people who give funds or collect funds are arrested by the police. If the owner gives space to the militant out of force, instead of helping him, the owner is being taken away and those who want to help him are also taken away. If there is war it should be between two guns, don’t involve us in between. We should be allowed to live our lives,” the youth added amid cheers from the participants.

The army officer said he will get back to him.

Responding to another question, the army officer said that the youth should treat him like their elder brother.

The dialogue happened under mission Pehal, and the GoC victor force Major General Rashim Bali, 12 sector commander Brigadier Ajay Katoch and other officers were responding to questions of the youths.

The video of the dialogue has gone viral on social media.

In the video the officer says that the Army has “no interest in your phones; the forces only want to see apps that are anti-nation.”

The Major General ordered that the mobile shouldn’t be retained for more than 20 minutes.

The Army official said this is the first such interaction and one day he would wish to have such interaction under the Mission Pehal (beginning) at a huge stadium.

The Army officer said once the situation returns to normalcy the roadblocks would be removed.

(Free Press Kashmir)

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