The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed forces to deal carefully with the situation in Kashmir, especially during anti-militancy operations and protests to avert civilian killings and collateral damage.

One of the top officials of the MHA insisted not to be named told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that the top police and other security officials have been directed to ensure that the forces at the site of encounters and protests, handle the situation very carefully to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage.

 “All security agencies have to strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) formulated for anti-militancy operations and dealing with protests,” the MHA has directed.

Sources said that the MHA has been informed by the top brass of the security forces in JK that it was unprecedented situation in Pulwama where hundreds of people assembled at the encounter site and pelted stones on the security forces who had engaged a group of militants in an encounter.

Sources said that the MHA was concerned over the presence of civilians at the encounter sites despite being repeatedly asked not to do so.

However, sources said that the MHA was satisfied with number of killings of the militants by security forces and thwarting of infiltration attempts by the troops along the LoC.

Sources said that MHA was watching Kashmir situation very closely and have gathered all information of security situation prevailing in Valley from the officers of police, CRPF and other agencies.

Sources said that top security officers were asked to give their views on the ground situation, especially the security situation in Kashmir including counter-insurgency operations and infiltrations from across the border.

It is to mention here that seven civilians including three militants and one Army Jawan were killed after an encounter in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday. More than 15 people were also injured after security forces allegedly opened fire at the protesters near the site of the encounter.