At least 35 persons—militants, civilians and army personnel—were killed in militancy related incidents during the holy month of Ramadhan this year in Kashmir.
Unlike last year, the anti-militancy operation was not halted during Ramadan, which began on 7 May. The first operation against militants was launched at Ram Nagri area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on 10 May in which one militant of Islamic State of Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK), who hailed from Sopore was killed. Police, however, said he was affiliated with Harkatul Mujahideen group, one of the oldest militant groups.
The statistics reveals that 35 persons were killed during Ramadan from 10 May till 3 June in separate incidents of militancy in the valley. Of them 27 were militants, six civilians and two army men. Of the five civilians one was killed during a gunfight between militants and government forces at Dalipora in Pulwama while four civilians died in separate attacks by unknown gunmen in south Kashmir.
The slain civilians include two activists of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Irfan Shiekh of Zainapora area of Shopain and 65-year-old Mohammad Jamal Bhat of Zangalpora area of Kulgam district.
Of the 27 militants, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the group with huge local cadre, has suffered highest of 11 casualties. The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), outfit known for its daring attacks on forces, suffered eight killings and Lashkar-e-Taoiba (LeT) lost four militants.
Zakir Musa, chief Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind, an alqaeda affiliate in Kashmir, was also killed in a gunfight with forces in Dadsara Tral in Pulwama while one slain militant belonged to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, whose affiliation was also claimed by ISJK. The association of at least two other militants was not known.
Majority of the militants killed in Ramadan were locals, mostly from south Kashmir villages, while three were from Pakistan. During the holy month around 13 gunfights were witnessed between the government forces and militants in Kashmir mostly in south Kashmir, the epicenter of militancy.
Of them the highest of five gun battles were witnessed in villages of volatile Pulwama district followed by four in restive Shopian district, one each gunfight in Kulgam and Anantnag in south Kashmir and two gunfights were reported in Sopore in north Kashmir.
Last year when Government of India (GoI) had halted anti-militancy operation in the Valley during Ramadan, eight forces personnel, 23 militants and four civilians were killed in militancy-related incidents, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had recently revealed in RTI reply.
“37 security personnel and 33 civilians were also injured during the period. Five militants were arrested during the truce period,” the RTI reply had stated.
The Ramadhan truce was maintained from May 17, 2018, to June 17, 2018 to help Muslims observe the holy month in a "peaceful environment".
This year till May, the government forces have killed 101 militants of various groups and highest of them 76 are local militants and 25 foreigners. At least 59 personnel of government forces were killed during the anti-militancy operations and militant attack during past five months in the valley.