Indian security forces say they exercise the maximum possible restraint in dealing with stone throwers but will not hesitate to take strict action if they pose a threat to operations or soldiers taking part in them, according to an India Today report.
The Central Reserve Police Force and local cops had opened fire on stone pelters on Tuesday, killing three and injuring several others, while carrying out an operation against a terrorist holed up inside a house in Budgam district in central Kashmir. A number of security forces personnel were also injured.
"The Indian Penal Code gives us the right to act in self defence if we think that either our troops or public property is under threat. Moreover, if such protesters continue to do so in future, we will exercise maximum restraint but will not hesitate to repeat similar action," a source said.
Army chief General Bipin Rawat had earlier issued a stern warning to those found obstructing operations of armed forces, saying they would be dealt with strongly. Rawat is likely to visit the Kashmir valley after his return from Bangladesh to assess the situation.
"In the Budgam encounter, the protesters were coming too close to the troops and there was a possibility of them either trying to snatch rifles from troops or cause grave injury to the forces," the sources said.
"If you allow the protesters to come too close, they might replace stone with Molotov cocktail or acid. We cannot ignore the safety or security of our troops," an Army source deployed in the Kashmir valley said.
Army sources said the youths get messages on social media websites about protest locations.
"Such strong action from troops will deter some of them from joining unnecessary protests," they said.