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Rajnath Singh meets injured civilians allegedly detained by Army in J&K

New Delhi:

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh – in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday to combat protests over the deaths of three civilians after they were detained by the army for questioning – also met others who were reportedly injured as they were in military detention. Eight civilians were arrested after an ambush on two army vehicles in Poonch district of J&K, in which four soldiers were killed.

Earlier in the day, Mr Singh met with the families of those killed and urged caution when dealing with civilians. He said the army could not “commit any mistake” that would harm any Indian citizen.

“You are the protectors of the country. But I want to request you that apart from keeping the country safe, you also have the responsibility to win the hearts of the people. There should be no mistake that can hurt any Indian “, did he declare.

READ | ‘Don’t make mistakes that could harm your countrymen’: Rajnath Singh in the army

“We must win battles… eliminate terrorists… but a more important goal is to win people’s hearts. We will win wars but we must also win hearts. And I know you are doing your best. ..”

The army has ordered an investigation into the deaths of the three civilians identified as Mohammad Safeer, Shabir Ahmad and Showkat Hussain. They were among a dozen villagers arrested Friday in the Bafliaz region.

READ | Army orders investigation into death of 3 civilians held for questioning

However, after a video showing soldiers beating and torturing civilians went viral, their families and some political parties alleged that they were tortured in custody. A dozen villagers were transferred to hospitals. The authenticity of the video, however, has not been established.

Responsibility for the Poonch terror attack was claimed by the Anti-Fascist Popular Front, linked to the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group and was first identified in 2019, after the government scrapped Jammu’s special status. and Kashmir.

The Defense Minister’s visit – his second in the last seven months – follows that of Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande, who was in the Union Territory on Monday to to review the ongoing anti-terrorism operation in Surankote and Thanamandi forest belt of Rajouri district. .

Last month, two officers and three soldiers were killed in Rajouri, where in May 10 soldiers were killed in a shootout with terrorists.

The Pir Panjal region – Rajouri and Poonch districts – had been free of terrorism since 2003, but major attacks have resumed since October 2021. In the last seven months alone, 20 soldiers, including officers and commandos of the forces special, were killed.

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