In 5 months, forces gun down 101 militants in Kashmir
Security forces have killed 101 militants in counter-terror operations in the first five months of the year, acting on intelligences inputs provided by their informants on the ground.
In 2018 and 2017, from January to May, security forces had managed to kill 70 and 57 militants, respectively.
Most counter-terror operations were executed in south Kashmir’s four districts – Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag.
All four districts had seen a spike in militancy and militant recruitment after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by security forces in July 2016. “This year, the pace of operations has increased, especially in the hinterland areas, compared to previous years. The situation has improved in the areas which were considered hotbeds of militancy,’’ said a senior police officer privy to details of anti-terror operations conducted in south Kashmir, requesting anonymity.
A majority of the 101 militants killed in the first five months were locals, the police said. “An average of 20 militants have been killed in each month so far. This includes 25 foreign terrorists and 76 locals, belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e- Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind,’’ a J&K police spokesman said. On May 23, security forces gunned down the Valley’s most wanted militant commander, Zakir Musa, 25, who had formed the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, in south Kashmir. Musa, who was active in South Kashmir’s Tral area, was a close associate of Burhan Wani. After the killing of Burhan Wani, Musa parted ways with the Hizbul Mujahideen and formed his own group. After the killing of Musa, only a few militants of his groups still remain, the police said. Musa was killed in an operation launched on specific intelligence inputs. The killing triggered protests and stone throwing in the old city of Srinagar and in Pulwama, prompting the administration to suspend mobile internet services and impose a curfew in parts of the Valley for two days. In the past five months, up to seven militant commanders operating in various parts of south Kashmir were killed by security forces, the police said. One of them was Abid Manzoor Magray alias Sajju Tiger of the Hizb. The militant had been active since 2016.
A senior police officer said Hizbul operational commander Riyaz Naikoo was among the old guard of militants active in the south Kashmir. “Other old guard militants or commanders have been killed in various operations,’’ the officer said on condition of anonymity. In the first five months, 61 troopers were killed by militants, and they included the 40 CRPF personnel who died in a suicide car bombing in Pulwama on February 14, which was followed by IAF strikes on a JeM terror camp in Balakot. The Jaish had claimed responsibility fort the Pulwama attack.