Despite the troops remaining firmly in control of the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army’s top commander in Kashmir on Saturday said there were apprehensions regarding the threat of increased infiltration by the militants as their leaders had been eliminated in the “Valley”.
“The Army has been successful in eliminating militant leaders in Kashmir. Army has killed 11 militants including some top commanders since January,” General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C) of the 15 Corps, Lt Gen Gurmit Singh told reporters here .
Nonetheless, the Army was ready to meet any challenge, including the possible influx of Taliban militants from Afghanistan in the aftermath of the draw down by the US-led International Security Assistance Force(Isaf) troops from the war-torn country by this year-end.
“There are different regional dynamics of security situation in the state. The counter-infiltration grid is in place at the LoC and along the international border and we are ready to meet any challenge,” he said.
According to Singh, the slain militants included a Hizbul Mujahideen(HM) commander, who was active in North Kashmir’s Sopore area for the last 12 years, and a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commander. “We have also arrested 13 militants, including the HM’s Divisional Commander,” he said.
Recalling the Army’s recent success in eliminating 10 top ultras, the General said, “There are apprehensions that infiltration may increase as militants might attempt to fill the leadership void.” As for the forthcoming Parliamentary and Assembly elections in the state, the GoC said, “We will be providing a secure environment for the conduct of elections.”
On the Army’s anti-militancy operations, he said the security forces exercised maximum restraint while conducting the raids. “We avoid opening fire on local militants as they are given ample time to surrender. We open fire only after they target us. The local militants are misguided youth and for this reason we give them the maximum chance to surrender,” he said, adding there has been no collateral damage to the civilian population during the anti-militancy operations.
Refusing to give figures about militants present in the Valley Singh said, “The security situation in Kashmir as well as on the Line of Control(LoC) is well under control”. He appreciated the coordination among the Army, J&K Police and other security agencies. “Our professional coordination has been appreciated at the highest level. We are committed to ensuring zero human rights violations,” he added.