Will clean south Kashmir from militancy this month: IGP Kashmir

SRINAGAR — The top officials of the Jammu and Kashmir’s security grid Friday said that in the next few months, the will try to ensure that normalcy is fully restored across the Valley so that people resume the activities of their choice in peaceful manner.

They also stated that this year so far over a 100 militants were killed that include 50 from Hizbul Mujahideen alone and 20 each from Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba while remaining were from Ansaar Gazwat-ul-Hind and other small militant groups like Albadr etc.

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Addressing a joint press conference at the Army’s Srinagar based 15 Corps headquarters, General officer Commanding (GoC) 15 Corps Lieutenant General B S Raju said that over the past 24 hours, security forces on ground did a wonderful job by killing eight militants in two separate encounters in south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Shopian districts.

“In one of the encounters, where militants had gone inside a mosque, the forces on ground exercised extreme restraint and no damage was caused to the religious place. With every operation, we are moving on the path of peace. I can feel it on ground that there is a palpable difference in the situation.”

Flanked by Director General of Police (J&K) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar and IG CRPF Rajesh Kumar, the GoC Raju said that the successful operations are taking place with the active support of people. “In next few months, we will try to ensure that normalcy is restored in full across the Valley so that people resume all kinds of activities in a peaceful manner,” the Army officer said.

He said that this year so far, 102 militants have been killed in various operations. “There have been only one or two civilian casualties and that’s because of the extra-ordinary restraint exercised by the forces on ground,” he said. “This year 49 youth had joined various militant ranks of which 27 were killed. It doesn’t give us a pleasure to kill young boys. But if anybody picks up arms, we will do what we are doing.”

In Pulwama, educational institutions to remain closed tomorrow also

The GoC said that there was a limited success in persuading the youth, who get trapped in encounters, to surrender. “But we have been able to prevent the new recruitment and to identity those  behind the militant recruitment in Kashmir. My appeal to the people across Kashmir is to come forward and help us preventing youth from treading the wrong path and to bring back those who have picked up arms,” he said, adding that “We assure them proper rehabilitation.”

Speaking on the occasion, J&K DGP Singh said that the mission of police is to stabilize peace in J&K and they are continuously working towards that. “During this year, there were a number of successful operations against militants and most of them have been clean with less collateral damage. For that, I would like to compliment field officers who remain physically present during the operation,” the DGP said.

Seconding the GoC’s statement that killing a young boy doesn’t give pleasure to the security forces, the J&K police chief said that killing a local militant doesn’t bring pleasure to forces, nor to his family and the civil society. But a person with gun is a threat to everybody. There have been a large number of civilian killings and attacks on security forces, we can’t ignore that. We have to take required action and will continue to do that,” Singh said.

The DGP said that he was happy to see new recruitment into militancy going down drastically. “This is because of the joint efforts of parents, police, Army, civil society and officers on ground, who maintain a close contact with the families, who children tread a wrong path,” he said. “The number of youth, who were on the brink of joining militancy, and were brought back on time, is huge.”

About the two anti-militancy operations in the past 24 hours in south Kashmir districts, the DGP said that both the operations were clean and there was no collateral damage.

“At Meej Pampore, local jamia masjid was used by militants, after they ran away from the target house. The field commanders exercised a lot of restraint and kept the area under cordon. The field commanders used slightly different tactics and ways to handle the operation and I am happy this morning, the operation was over in a clean manner,” he said.

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The DGP said that there was not even a minutest damage to the masjid. “I am glad to see local people hailing the security agencies for the clean operation and not causing any sort of damage to the mosque. Many videos are viral in this regard on social media,” he said.

The DGP said that at Shopian district, five militants were killed and they belonged to Hizb and Lashkar.

“This year, so far over a 100 militants were killed. 50 belonged to Hizb and 20 were each from Lashkar and Jaish. Remaining belonged to Ansaar Gazwatul Hind and Al-Badr etc,” he said, adding that in Jammu region almost half-a dozen militants were killed. “Doda district of Jammu is almost militancy free as there is only one militant active. In Kishtwar, militancy is on a last leg as only three militants are active there.”

The DGP also appealed the gun-wielding youth willing to surrender to lay their weapons confidentially stating that they would get all the support to lead a new peaceful life. He said that in the coming days, security forces will give full chance to the militants who get trapped in encounters to surrender. “We will give them ample time to think and lay down weapons,” he said.

IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar while replying to a query that whether militancy stands wiped out from south Kashmir, said that there are still 12 more days left from the current month. “I had stated earlier that from next month, we will shift focus to north Kashmir. Let this month end first. In the remaining days, we will clean remaining militants from south and accordingly move to north,” he said.

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