Now complete focus is being laid on anti-militancy operations: ADG CRPF
The anti-militancy operations by forces have declined in Kashmir post August 5 when Government of India (GoI) abrogated Article 370and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir State into two Union Territories (UTs).
There have been less than a dozen gunfights between militants and forces during past four months in the valley.
In these gunfights, at least 18 militants were killed at various places in the hinterland, according to figures.
A security official said entire security grid laid focus on maintaining law and order as there were apprehensions that Kashmir might witness large scale protests and violence following scrapping of State’s special status.
“But situation remained almost peaceful. There were stray incidents of clashes at some places,” he said.
Before August 5, the offensive against militants was underway with pace as forces had been targetting the militant leadership in the valley.
As per figures, at least 152 militants of Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and others were killed in gun battles with forces in Kashmir till August 5.
Of them, 105 militants were killed post February 14 suicide bombing at paramilitary CRPF convoy at Pulwama in south Kashmir in which 40 CRPF men were killed. It had triggered an aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan air forces.
A local militant, Adil Dar had carried the suicide attack, which was deadliest in last 30 years of militancy in Kashmir.
However, forces including Police, Army and CRPF intensified the anti-militancy operations in Valley especially in south Kashmir—the militant hotbed region—and killed over 50 militants including the operational chief of the Jaish.
The figures reveal that of 152 killed militants, maximum 28 militants were killed in May followed by 24 in June, 23 in February, 21 in March, 17 in January, 11 in April, 10 in October, six in July and five each in August and November.
About 80 forces personnel were also killed in anti-militancy operation and militancy attacks in Kashmir this year so far.
About 50 civilians were also killed in Kashmir this year so far, most of them by suspected militants.
Of them, 15 civilians were killed in October and 11 of among them were non-locals, who had come to Kashmir and were working as labourers, truckers and traders.
According to reports, post-August 5 the government heightened security across Kashmir by deploying over 50,000 additional Central Armed Police Force personnel to maintain law and order and keep stone pelting at bay.
While focus was laid on maintaining calm in the valley, the killing of non-locals in south Kashmir prompted security agencies to heighten the vigil in south Kashmir and instil a sense of security among the local and non-local traders, said an official.
The anti-militancy operations had witnessed a pace before August 05 when all communication networks including internet and mobile were working normally in the valley. However, post August 5 when all communication channels were shut, the level of gunfights between militants and forces declined.
However, as communication lines were being restored in Kashmir in phased manner followed by intelligence about movement of militants, the anti-militancy operation resumed.
Two days after the post-paid mobile phone services resumed in Kashmir, three Lashkar-e-Toiba militans were killed in gunfight in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on October 16.
Days later, three more militants were killed in a gunfight forces in Awantipora in Pulwama district on October 22.
As per figures, 11 have been killed after the restoration of the mobile phones in Kashmir.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Special Director General of CRPF north Zone, Zulfikar Hassan said post August 5 the focus of forces had gone towards maintaining law and order in the valley.
“But, now the anti-militancy operations are underway. We are getting success in operations. The complete focus is being laid on anti-militancy operations by Police, Army and CRPF,” he said.
In 2018, forces killed 257 militants in Kashmir—highest in five years—while 91 forces personnel were also killed in gunfights and militant attacks last year when 614 militancy incidents were witnessed.