This has been an important year for the security forces operating in Kashmir, the number of terrorists killed in counter-insurgency operations has crossed 200 and still counting. For the first time since 2010, the security forces have managed to notch up such figures. As DGP Srinagar, Shesh Pal Vaid tweeted on Nov 30, a day when five terrorists were killed in two separate encounters by the forces in Badgam and Baramulla Districts: “Today by the collective effort of J&K Police, Indian Army, CRPF and people of Kashmir have led to neutralisation of more than 200 terrorists in the year 2017 alone. This marks a huge landmark for establishing peace and stability in the state of J&K and our country.”
Although the year 2010 saw a higher number of terrorists neutralised, no less than 270, the following years witnessed a drop-in numbers till the 200 mark was breached again recently. According to Lt. General JS Sandhu (GOC of Srinagar-based Chinar Corps) 190 militants had been killed by November 19, 2017. By the 30th of November, the figure had crossed 200 of which more than half were of foreign origin.
On the 30th of November this year, six Pakistani terrorists of the LeT were eliminated in North Kashmir’s Bandipora District. The prize catch in this encounter was the nephew of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, one of the Masterminds of the dastardly Mumbai attack of 26/11. During this encounter, the security forces succeeded in eliminating two more commanders of the Lashkar thus wiping out the higher echelons of this terrorist organisation almost entirely. The Hajin area of Bandipora where this operation was conducted is known as a militant-infested region.
Besides the high success rate after CASO was re-launched this year, another new measure is being tried out by the security forces. After Majid Bhat, a young Kashmiri football player joined militancy, his distraught mother made a widely-circulated televised appeal begging him to come back to his family. It did the trick, Majid and several other local militants have now rejoined their families taking advantage of this ‘surrender programme’ for local militants that promises safety, a return to the mainstream and no retaliatory action by the police. If the J&K Govt were to follow this up with a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for these young men, it might encourage several others to shun militancy and come back to normal life.
As Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently commented, “the morale of our security forces is high, they are ferreting out and eliminating two, four, five, six or seven terrorists every day. The month of December is yet to pass, but we have already gotten rid of more than 200 terrorists in 2017.”
This year’s tally exceeds the 2016 figures by fifty. On the 4th of December, terrorists attacked an army convoy at Qazigund. In the ensuing encounter, our security forces managed to kill two Pakistani terrorists, Fukran who had just taken over as Divisional Commander of LeT and Abu Mavia. Clearly, the vigilant security forces are constantly close on the heels of terrorists, targeting and getting rid of each ‘commander’ who takes over these dreaded outfits that instigate local boys to take up militancy. From Burhan Wani onwards, there’s been no let-up in this ‘Operation Clean up’!
The year 2017 has been significant for the elimination of dangerous commanders from dreaded terror-organisations like Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Some of the key terrorists gunned down this year were Abu Dujana, Junaid Mattoo, Sabzar Bhat, Bashir Lashkari and Sajad Ahmed Gilkar.
However, the recent release of globally-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed by the Pakistan Government, poses a threat to any semblance of normalcy in the Valley. Saeed seems to have ‘dedicated’ his diabolical life to fomenting trouble in Jammu & Kashmir and his resurfacing and attempt to join politics will be a cause for worry to India. Meanwhile the Al-Qaeda is said to have issued a fresh warning in Kashmir. Let’s hope this Winter of relative peace thanks to our brave soldiers, leads to a much-needed ‘Summer of normalcy’ in the Valley.