SRINAGAR: 2014 was perceived to be "challenging" for the security grid in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the US announcement of troop pull-out from Afghanistan and two elections in the state but the number of casualties suffered by the security forces decreased slightly.
While number of militants killed in the counter-insurgency operations rose by 10 per cent to 110, number of security personnel killed dropped from 61 last year to 51 this year.
The year began on a violent note when Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Kafeel Ahmad was killed and three policemen were injured in an encounter on January 7 between security forces and militants in Sopore township of north Kashmir's Baramulla district.
A Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant was also killed in an encounter in Beighpora area of Awantipora town in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, the same day.
Six days later, on January 13, a 'divisional commander' of Jaish-e-Mujhahideen was among three foreign militants killed in an encounter in Dooru village in the foothills of Cherhar forests in Sopore.
By the end of the first month, seven militants were killed in encounters at different places in the state.
The number went slightly up in the next month, when 11 militants, including seven LeT militants in Lolab forests of Kupwara district. While no security personnel were killed in militancy-related violence, February saw the killing of a youth in Sopore town.
The year also saw militants employing the same strategy as in 2013 - maximum effect with minimum impact on general public. Militants would often carry out surprise attacks by targeting security personnel from point-blank range and before fleeing, decamped with their service weapons.
The army described the strategy as the fall-out of the robust counter-infiltration grid on the Line of Control (LoC).
"The robust counter-infiltration grid that is in place at the LoC has made it almost impermeable for the terrorists to carry weaponry. That is why they were resorting to hit and run attacks on the security forces and then decamped with their weapons," Corps Commander of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha said.
The army, in September, said there were around 200 heavily armed militants across the LoC waiting to infiltrate into the Kashmir Valley.
In the month of March, militants made an unsuccessful attempt to storm an army camp in Kathua, in Jammu region, and carried out twin attacks on the Jammu-Pathankote highway, killing a soldier and two civilians while causing injuries to six others. All the three militants were also killed after the day-long encounter.
The four months from August to November saw spurt in militancy-related incidents and as many 17 civilians, 18 security forces personnel and 44 militants were killed in different incidents.
On November 27, 12 people, including five civilians and three army personnel, were killed when three militants attacked army in Arnia sector in Jammu region. The timing of the attack coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif attending the SAARC summit in Nepal.
However, the last month of the year was deadly as far as the violence was concerned. 31 people, including five civilians, 13 security forces personnel and 15 militants have been killed in December.
A major attack took place on December 5, just four days before the third phase of the assembly elections. At least 21 persons including 11 security forces personnel, two civilians and eight militants were killed as a series of attacks rocked Kashmir valley.
A group of heavily armed militants stormed into an Army’s 31 Field Regiment Ordinance Camp located at Mohra in Uri Sector of Baramulla district near the LoC.
During the intense operations, one Lieutenant Colonel and seven soldiers of the army, one ASI and two constables of Jammu and Kashmir Police were killed. Six militants were also killed in the operation.
On the same day, police killed a top LeT commander and his associate in an encounter in Ahmad Nagar area of Srinagar city, while militants exploded a grenade in Tral town of Pulwama district leading to death of two civilians and injuring 10 others.
During the year, the militants continued their attacks on "soft targets" with the army saying the force was conscious of the security requirements of such targets like panchs and sarpanchs and would provide an environment of security to them.
Six sarpanchs were killed during the year with two each in the months of April and December. Militants also killed one 'numberdar' (village official) in Pulwama and a polling official in April, a civilian in Sopore in June, a National Conference worker in Srinagar in September and a brother of a sarpanch, whose father they had killed in Pulwama in April.
The army said there was a new trend in 2014 - desperate bids to push in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along the LoC.
"The trends that we have been noticing along the LoC – there have been a number of infiltration bids which have been
foiled and the new trend we have noticed this time is this desperate bid to push in IEDs. It is absolutely new. Earlier, this month, on two occasions, four IEDs were recovered from just next to the LoC and that recovery has saved quite a catastrophic situation," Lt Gen Saha said in November.
Before that month, seven IEDs were also detected and defused by the security forces resulting in averting major tragedies.
There were 18 explosions in the year which led to the death of six persons and injuries to 61.
During the year, a grenade was hurled at National Conference candidate, and the then Union Minister, Farooq Abdullah's rally in Khanyar area of Srinagar. However, no one was injured in the incident.