SRI NAGAR: 2017 could well earn the tag of being the “most violent” in Kashmir in the last seven years with a record number of militants, their commanders and civilians killed in militancy-related violence. Security forces also suffered heavy casualties.The first half of this year saw a surge in militant violence in south Kashmir after over five months of unrest last year following the killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces.
South Kashmir, which covers the districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam, emerged as a stronghold of militants. They roamed freely and attacked security forces at will, killing cops, CRPF and army personnel. “South Kashmir had become a challenge for security forces. Drastic measures were needed to contain militancy and kill militants and their commanders,” a security official said.
About 209 militants were killed this year, the highest count in five years. Also, it was the first time in seven years that over 200 militants were killed in encounters in the Valley.Of the 209 militants killed, 80 died in south Kashmir. Fifteen were foreigners (Pakistanis) and 65 locals. According to official data, 150 militants were killed in 2016, 108 in 2015, 110 in 2014, 67 in 2013, 50 in 2012 and 100 in 2011.
Security personnel also died in the anti-militancy operations. At least 77 security men, including police, CRPF, BSF and armymen were killed in 2017.