SRI NAGAR: A senior Army commander on Wednesday said the government’s crackdown against Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in the Valley had left it without a leader and that no JeM operatives were willing to lead the operatives again. The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police also produced a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant arrested several days ago.
“So far, 69 militants have been killed in encounters with security forces in the Valley this year. Of them, 41 were killed since the February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF bus at Pulwama, in which 40 paramilitary personnel were killed,” General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen KJS Dhillon, said while addressing a joint press conference with J&K police chief Dilbag Singh and IG CRPF Zulfiqar Hassan.
He said of the 41 militants killed since February 14, 25 belonged to JeM. “A total of 13 of the 25 slain Jaish militants were Pakistanis,” he added. Top commanders of the group have been killed in encounters with security forces. Lt Gen Dhillon said the situation had reached a point where nobody was ready to take over Jaish leadership in the Valley.
Asked how many militants were present in the Valley currently, the GoC said, refused to divulge the details. Weighing in on militant recruitment, DGP Dilbag Singh said it had gone down. “It continues to be low and it is a healthy sign,” he asserted. Meanwhile, the arrested militant was also allowed to speak to the media on Wednesday. “I am 27-years-old and my name is Mohammad Waqar Awan. I hail from Mian Mohalla, Mianwali, Pakistan,” he told the media.
Waqar further said he had infiltrated into Kashmir in 2017 and had undergone four months training in weapons handling in Muzaffarabad — in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Speaking of his indoctrination, Waqar said he was told there was oppression in Kashmir, where women were being attacked and people were not allowed to offer prayers. “But I saw nothing like that,” he added.