The Jammu and Kashmir government has told security forces in the state not to cause any "collateral damage" to civilians during gunbattles with militants even if the terrorists happen to break their cordon and flee, official sources said Friday.
The instructions were conveyed to army commanders and heads of the central paramilitary forces by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is also the chairman of the unified headquarters that decides the strategy for fighting terrorists and works out strategies for maintaining law and order in the state, the sources said.
Abdullah had asked the security forces to follow this line of zero collateral damage after encounters in Sopore, where some damage was caused to a few houses when a three-day-long gun battle took place between security forces and terrorists early this month.
Earlier, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar stated publicly that security forces should not cause any damage to civilian lives or property during gun battles.
An officer of the central paramilitary forces said security forces never cause any damage by design. "It happens in conflict situations, and terrorists are terrorists, they don't deserve any mercy," he said.
In fact, the collateral damage was caused by terrorists, the officer told IANS on condition of anonymity.