NEW DELHI: The killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo has come as a huge success for the security forces in Kashmir. However, data for past two years, obtained from highly placed sources, show that April 2020 has been most successful for the forces compared to the same month in 2018 and 2019.
A senior security said the sudden spike in the number of encounters in April, when the nationwide shutdown was in force, was not a mere coincidence.
According to him, the lockdown helped local police build a rapport with locals and gave time to the forces to spread their network of sources in the Valley which, in turn, gave more valuable and precise intelligence that has led to more successful operations against the terrorists.
“The intelligence from security agencies has sharpened with the assistance of locals. The image of police has improved considerably during the shutdown. The inflow of actionable intelligence has increased,” the official said.
While 28 terrorists were killed in April, the number of terrorists killed during the same month in 2018 and 2019 were 20 and 11, respectively. So far, a total of 68 terrorists in J&K have been killed this year, of which 13 were foreign nationals and the rest locals.
The elimination of so many terrorists early on in the year is a significant achievement because April is the time when snow begins to thaws in the higher reaches of the peaks along the LoC and Pakistan begins to push terrorists trained by it into the Valley.
A swift and decisive action against the infiltrators, including senior commanders of the terror groups, is likely to translate into a more peaceful Valley, sources said.
Almost half the terrorists killed till May 5 this year were eliminated in April.
Most of them are from Hizbul Mujahideen, which has a mostly local cadre and a vast network of Over Ground Workers. South Kashmir, where the encounter with Riyaz Naikoo took place, continues to remain the epicentre of militant activities as the data reveals — 44 of the 60 terrorists have been killed in the four districts of south Kashmir.
And of all the districts, Pulwama — where some of the most dreaded terrorists including Burhan Wani, Zakir Musa and Riyaz Naikoo hailed from — has been at the centre of action, accounting for more than one-fourth of the total successful counter-insurgency operations.
Apart from Naikoo, other wanted terrorists eliminated include Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Kashmir chief Qari Yasir, his associates Abu Qasim and Sajad Nawab Dar, Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Muzaffar Ahmed Bhat and Hizbul commander Haroon Wani.