3 dead in custody in J&K: Army must protect nation but also win hearts of citizens, says defence minister Rajnath Singh | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said the Army’s primary duty is to protect the nation but it must also win the hearts of Indians and ensure there are “no mistakes made” that end up hurting the citizens, in an apparent reference to the deaths of three men while in Army custody.
Speaking to soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch, Singh on Wednesday said he had full faith that the Army will wipe out terrorism from J&K.

“I believe in your bravery and steadfastness … Terrorism should be finished from J&K and you need to move forward with this commitment. I have full faith that you will achieve victory,” said Singh, who is on a day-long tour in Rajouri district to review the security situation in the wake of a recent terrorist ambush in the border district of Poonch that left four soldiers dead.

In an apparent reference to the deaths of three men who were taken into Army custody shortly after the ambush, Singh urged soldiers to take action with care.

“Along with protecting the country, I would like to make a special request to you [soldiers]. It is your responsibility to protect the country. But along with protecting this country, winning the hearts of its citizens is also a very big responsibility on your shoulders … I know that you are all trying to do this from your perspective. But it is possible that sometimes you feel sad. You should not feel sad. You should not feel sad in such a way that will harm the citizens of India. You are serving the country. You should stay close to the people of that country. You should gain their trust. You should increase their understanding,” said the minister.

Noting the “unparalleled sacrifice” of soldiers, Singh said it is the gargantuan responsibility of the Army to ensure the security of the nation while also winning the hearts of the citizens.
The Army has launched an internal investigation into the alleged custodial deaths and the kin of the three deceased have been given Rs 10 lakh in compensation.


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