Army chief says extension in unilateral halt in security operations a possibility

 The chief of army staff General Bipin Rawat Friday said that extension in suspension of operations was a possibility provided that militants don’t initiate an attack.

“We suspended operations to make people feel the atmosphere of peace and I believe people are happy,” Rawat told the reporters on sidelines of an event at Army Goodwill School in Pahalgam.

Rawat said that non initiation of combat operations (NICO) beyond Ramadhan had so far been successful and it had given a sense of peace in the valley.

In response to a question whether the unilateral halt in security operations would be extended, the army chief added: “if things continued in a peaceful way then continuing of NICO could be thought of, however if militants attack then we will have to seriously  rethink about the suspension in operation ,”

The government took a unilateral decision to halt security operations for the month of Ramadan from May 16 onwards.

Asked about the recent controversial incident involving Major Leetul Gogoi being caught along with the girl in a local hotel, the army chief said that army officer will face a strict punishment if found guilty.

He said nobody is above law and if Gogoi is found guilty of committing a crime, punishment meted out to him will act as a lesson

In 2017, Major Gogoi hogged headlines when he tied a man with the bonnet of his jeep and used him as a human shield.

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