Indian Army Adopts Topi Pir Village In Poonch At Centre Of Torture Allegations In Major Outreach

Army Adopts Poonch Village At Centre Of Torture Allegations In Major Outreach

The Topi Pir village is nestled in the dense forest of the Pirpanjal mountains


The Indian Army has decided to adopt Poonch’s Topi Pir village and transform it into a model village as part of a major outreach initiative. This comes weeks after three civilians from the village, nestled in the dense forest of the Pirpanjal mountains, were allegedly tortured and killed in Army custody.

The Army has undertaken the initiative under its Sadbhavana (goodwill) programme – aimed at winning the hearts of the locals amid resentment over the alleged torture of villagers.

The village has been adopted by the Army’s 16 Corps which looks after operational control of areas in the Jammu province, including the Pir Panjal region and the Line of Control.

On December 22, the picturesque Topi Pir village bore the brunt of a counterterrorist operation, one that went wrong.

Three civilians were killed and several others were injured hours after they were picked up for questioning following a terrorist ambush on the Army in which four soldiers were killed and five others were injured.

A leaked video showed villagers being brutally tortured at a military installation.

The Army immediately ordered a court of inquiry and removed a Brigadier and three other officers from the command.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh met with the victims’ families and assured them justice. During his address to troops, Mr Singh urged the Army to not only defeat the terrorists but also win the people’s trust – broken after the violence against civilians.

One of the three civilians who died in Army custody was Safeer Ahmad, whose brother is Noor Ahmad – a Border Security Force Constable.

Another victim Shabir Ahmad died in the same camp where his brother Mohammad Kabir was working as a porter with the Army.

Some are still in the hospital, getting treated for the injuries they suffered while being allegedly tortured.

Even after his brother’s killing, Noor Ahmed lamented the incident was “defaming” the country, and held that soldiers responsible for ‘torturing and killing villagers” are equally guilty.

On Friday, the Army’s Northern Command chief Lieutenant General Uprenda Dwivedi visited Poonch and Rajouri – the twin districts that have become the theatre of major terrorist attacks on the Army.

Hours after his visit, an army convoy was attacked by terrorists in Poonch’s Krishna Ghati sector. No one was injured in the attack.

However, the terrorists managed to escape. A search operation led by the security forces is still underway.

According to the Army, during Lt General Dwivedi’s visit, there was a discussion on the dynamics of counterterrorism operations and the pattern of terrorist activities.

Emphasis was laid on a deeper understanding of the evolving security landscape in the region.

People are at the heart of the Army’s counter-insurgency strategy and winning their support is important to defeat terrorism.

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