SRI NAGAR: The anti-militancy operations by security forces and gunfights between militants and security men in Kashmir have witnessed a considerable decline since August 5, when the Centre scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.
According to data, only 18 militants were killed in gunfights with security forces in Valley this year in over four months period since August 5. Among the militants killed was Hameed Lone alias Hameed Lelhari, chief of Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind (AGH), an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Kashmir.
Lelhari along with two of his associates was killed in a gunfight with security forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on October 22.According to the data, 136 militants were killed in gunfight with security forces from January 1 to August 5 this year. Among them were top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, and Jaish-e-Mohammad, and AGH.
A security official conceded that pace of anti-militancy operations slowed down after August 5 because the focus of security agencies shifted from anti-militancy front to maintaining law and order in the Valley.
He said since security forces were focusing on foiling protests, the anti-militancy operations took the backseat. The official, however, added that with the improving situation in J&K, the forces have resumed such operations.
Another security official said suspension of mobile and internet services in Valley immediately after August 5 slowed down the anti-militancy operations as “information from ground was difficult to reach the officials. And by the time information was being received, militants had changed their location by then”.
The official said in view of continued suspension of internet, militants are using satellite phones to communicate with one another. “We have recovered satellite phones during encounters recently,” he said.
‘Action taken as needed’
Inspector General CRPF Ravideep Singh Sahi said that encounters take place “when security forces receive information about location of militants, the operation is launched immediately.”