Press Trust of india

Army says its revised SOP has led to surrenders of militants

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Awantipora: The Indian Army has changed its standard operating procedure (SOP) for anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir to now focus on ensuring surrenders during live encounters — a policy which it says has helped save the lives of 17 youths in the last six months.

On the occasion of Army Day on Friday, four Rashtriya Rifles (RR) units working under the Victor Force, which combats militant activities in south Kashmir and parts of central Kashmir, were awarded the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Unit Citation.

The units — 50 RR, 44 RR, 42 RR and 34 RR — have been involved in multiple counter-militancy operations and have ensured seven surrenders since September last year when it was decided to make efforts to bring the “misguided” youths back to the mainstream.

The citations to the four units drawn from Kumaon, Rajput, Assam and Jat regiments of the Army were presented by Chief of Army Staff Gen M M Naravane in the national capital.

Videos of some of the surrenders, as per PTI, show that the Army brought parents of the militants to the encounter site and convinced them to drop arms.

In one of the videos, a militant, Zahid, has an emotional reunion with his father, who is seen weeping and telling his son that it is a rebirth.

General Officer Commanding of the Victor Force Major General Rashim Bali, who has been supervising surrenders during live encounters, feels that this has generated goodwill among the local population.

This has given a reassurance to the local militants that the avenue of their return to the national mainstream is open. “For those who want to join the national mainstream, we are committed to accept surrenders, even by putting our lives at great peril,” he said.

At the same time, Major General Bali made it clear that relentless operations will continue against those who pick up guns and resort to violence.

In some of the videos, surrendered militants could be seen praising the Army for providing them an opportunity to shun the path of violence.

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