Not halting ops in Valley during Ramzan helps rein in militancy
Ignoring the demand of Valley- based political parties to halt counterterror operations during Ramzan has reaped dividends. Security forces have neutralised 23 local and foreign militants in Kashmir during this period, taking the number killed in the counterterror drive to more than 100 in 2019. This also resulted in largely peaceful congregations in the Valley during Jamat-ul-Vida, the last Friday before Eid next week.
Last year, due to the imposition of non-initiation of combat operations (NICO) in the Valley, only 11 militants were killed during the Ramzan month and that too on the Line of Control (LOC) in Kupwara and Handwara districts.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of its coalition government with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on June 19, 2018, after the Eid-ul-Fitr festival, citing increased violence and radicalisation in the Valley.
Although PDP leader, Mehbooba Mufti, wanted the Centre to declare NICO during Ramzan this year, the Narendra Modi government ignored the call and turned up the heat on militants in the Kashmir Valley. Until Friday, 23 terrorists had been killed by the security forces in the Ramzan period, including Zakir Musa of Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind. Others were gunned down in Shopian, Pulwama, Avantipora, Sopore, Kulgam and Anantnag areas of the Valley.
All the encounters were conducted on the basis of human intelligence that originated from the ground, according to senior home ministry officials.
While the security forces expect more encounters with local and foreign militants in June due to a rise in infiltration during summer months, the situation in the Valley has improved as militant numbers have gone down.
With no let-up in counterterror operations, security forces have ensured that foreign terrorists do not have a chance to regroup and plan during the Ramzan month.
Although Muslims largely keep the peace during the pious month, Pakistan-based terror groups use a different interpretation to launch attacks against India both in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the hinterland.
The interpretation being that the crucial battle of Badr was fought by the Holy Prophet against the Quraish tribe of Mecca, which led to the rise of Islam in Saudi Arabia. Islamic radicalisers use this analogy to launch attacks against their enemies and hence some of the biggest terror attacks globally have taken place during the holy month.