The army in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday claimed to have killed 28 militants on the Line of Control (LoC) and in the hinterland in the Kashmir Valley in the past two months.
The killed militants, army said, included top Lashkar militants, including a 55-year-old man. This, they said, was done after 10 of their men were killed in an attack in outskirts of Srinagar in Hyderpora area on June 24. The recent being in Keran sector in north Kashmir on August 4.
The army said four militants were killed and huge cache of arms seized. While two of the militants were killed on the Indian side, two were killed on the spot and their bodies were not recovered, the army said. "We have identity cards of the militants and one of the killed was a 55-year-old militant," Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh, GoC of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said.
Lt Gen Singh said militant groups were trying to infiltrate "experienced" ultras to this side of the border as most of the militant leaders here had been "eliminated". "In the recent operations, we have been able to eliminate a large number of their leaders. A terrorist we killed recently was aged 55 years. He was an experienced and important leader of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The slain terrorist was tall, healthy and imposing and indicates that with this level of experience, they (LeT) were trying to induct a senior leader in this area," he said.
Referring to the increased counter-terrorism operations, the GoC said: "Since the Hyderpora attack of June 24, there have been a series of successful operations both on the LoC and in the hinterland. We have killed 28 terrorists during this period, out of which 18 were eliminated on the LoC and 10 in the hinterland," Lt Gen Singh said, adding that eight militants were those who were injured and crossed back but died immediately on the other side of the LoC. "We have inputs related to their deaths in those areas."
The GoC said all operations were done after specific inputs were received, hence there was no collateral damage or even any suggestion of human rights abuses. His statement came against the backdrop of incessant firing between Pakistani and Indian troops in Poonch district.
The Valley-based top army commander said the success in the operations had been a result of effective counter-infiltration grid and integrated intelligence created by different intelligence wings operating in Kashmir.
Lt Gen Singh said there had not been "significant" ceasefire violations from across the border in the Valley but attempts to infiltrate "are going to be there" in the coming time.
"In the Kashmir Valley, there has been no significant ceasefire violation, but attempts to infiltrate are there. Also, I like to highlight their infrastructure and apparatus close to the launchpad and their activities indicate that they are going to attempt infiltration in the coming time," he said.
"There is a high alertness on the LoC. There have been continuous efforts for infiltration. The activities and launchpad (across the border) are slightly hiked up. I am also aware about the visit of a senior terrorist and the coordination which is being done on the other side. I am cautious and it is a matter of commitment that we will maintain our effective counter-infiltration grid on the LoC," he said. He was referring to reports of visit of wanted terrorist Hafeez Sayeed to the LoC.
Singh said there would be an "appropriate" response to ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts.
"We are alert and conscious of the faith the nation has reposed in us. In fact, our drills and procedures of countering ceasefire violation is well rehearsed and there will be an appropriate response," Lt Gen Singh said.