Additional forces, new posts restricted movement of militants, resulted in Shopian success
Behind the killing of 12 militants in a day in South Kashmir’s Shopian were eight months of reconfiguration and restructuring of armed forces in the area.
Another militant was killed in nearby Anantnag, taking the toll to 13 — the highest number of militants killed in a day in recent years .
A senior police officer said, on condition of anonymity, that the deployment of additional forces and creation of new army and police posts in Shopian have restricted the movement of militants, forcing them to huddle in one place. “They had easy access but now we have made it difficult for them to move from one place to another,’’ the officer added.
Police say getting shelter in the villages is also becoming difficult for militants due to an increased network of informers.
It was a tip-off about the presence of militants in Dragad-Sugan village in Shopian, that prompted the joint operation by the police, army and CRPF. As the cordon approached the house, the militants fired and the encounter started at 3am on Sunday. Seven militants were killed.
Although local papers in Kashmir reported that four more militants managed to give the police a slip, Director General of Police SP Vaid denied the reports. “The seven were killed while trying to escape. Nobody managed to get out. The cordon was too strong,’’ Vaid said.
All the militants were locals. In another encounter that broke out in the wee hours on Sunday in Kachdoora village of Shopian five more militants were killed. The five were also locals from a different area in Shopian — most of them had joined militancy a few months back, were locally trained and couldn’t last for long.
The encounters are significant because Shopian was once considered to be a safe heaven for militants. Four civilians were also killed near the encounter sites and tens of other were injured, making the first day of the month one of the bloodiest ever since the summer of 2016.
“Of the 12 confirmed dead I understand 11 are local Kashmiris and the identity of the 12th is being ascertained; not one so far is a foreign terrorist. Is no one in a position of power in Delhi alarmed by this because I certainly am!,’’ former CM Omar Abdullah tweeted on Sunday.