Valley News Desk

40 civilians killed, nine at encounter sites, eye on summer months now, say security officials

Srinagar, June 11 (KNO) : First six months of year 2019 have given a reason for security agencies operating in Kashmir to boast on something—killing of 115 militants—including 38 militants from the Jaish-e-Muhammad outfit that carried out the deadly suicide attack on the CRPF men resulting in the killing of CRPF men.

This is for the first time since 2016—when the new age militancy became a major attraction for the youth, especially those living in southern districts of Kashmir, to pick up arms that such a huge number of militants were killed in Kashmir. While as year 2017 and 2018 showed a tremendous surge in the local militant recruitment, the year 2019 so has proved to be a “major success”, official figures available with KNO.

Ever since the security grid of Kashmir—police, army and the CRPF—started major assault against militants—in January this year, for the first time since 2017, 115 militants have been killed in the first quarter of the year 2019.

“Of the 110 militants killed this year so far, 38 alone belong to Jaish-e-Muhammad outfit including its four top commanders. The Jaish militants who masterminded the Lethpora, Pulwama suicide attack were also killed,” a senior security expert who is privy to the figures revealed to KNO.

Similarly, the official said that other militant outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Ansaar Gazwatul Hind also bore the brunt in a series of “successful operations” launched by the forces on the basis of credible “human and technical intelligence inputs.” “The killing of AGH chief Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Moosa was indeed a great, rather a big success,” the official told KNO.

The figures, according to the official, also revealed that due to intense counter insurgency operations launched by the forces against the militant leadership, the local militant recruitment also witnessed a significant dip. “This year only 40 boys picked up gun and we succeeded in bringing back six boys, who joined back their families while as six were killed and five others apprehended, who are undergoing a thorough mental therapies and counselling sessions,” the official said.

About the civilian killings, the official said that less than 25 civilians were killed this year so far that include nine youth who were part of protests at the encounter sites. “Even though we witnessed violent protests at a few encounter sites this year that saw the fatal injuries to some boys, but the figure is far less than the previous years,” the official told KNO.

He said among the 115 militants killed this year, there was a foreign component as well. “Some 25 foreign militants were also killed this year. But what is interesting is that one of the foreign militant was killed on LoC this year so far,” he said.

The official, however, said the summer months were challenging and “there was no question of lowering the guard.” “We are maintaining a tight vigil on the borders and also in the hinterland while as multi-layer security cover will remain for the smooth conduct of annual pilgrimage of Amarnath commencing from July 1,” he said.(KNO)

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