South Kashmir to be militancy free by June end: Police

SRINAGAR: The top officials of the Jammu and Kashmir’s security grid Friday said that in the next few months, the will try to ensure that the “normalcy is fully restored” across the Valley so that people resume the “activities of their choice in a peaceful manner”.

Lt Gen B.S. Raju GOC 15 Corps, DGP Police Dilbag Singh, IGP Kashmir and IG CRPF operations addressing a joint press conference in Srinagar regarding south Kashmir encounters on Friday, June 19, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

They also stated that this year so far over a 100 militants were killed including 50 from Hizbul Mujahideen and 20 each from Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba outfits while the remaining were from Ansaar Gazwat-ul-Hind and other small militant groups like Albadr.

Addressing a joint press conference at Army’s Srinagar based 15 Corps headquarters, General officer Commanding (GoC) 15 Corps Lieutenant General B S Raju said that over the past 24 hours, security forces killed eight militants in two separate encounters in South Kashmir’s Pulwama and Shopian districts.

“In one of the encounters, where militants had gone inside a mosque, the forces on ground exercised extreme restraint and no damage was caused to the religious place. With every operation we are moving on the path of peace. I can feel it on the ground that there is a palpable difference in the situation,” he said.

Flanked by Director General of Police (J&K) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar and IG CRPF Rajesh Kumar, GoC Raju said that successful operations are taking place with “active support of people.’

“In the next few months, we will try to ensure that normalcy is restored across the Valley so that people resume all kinds of activities in a peaceful manner,” he said.

The GoC added that there was “limited success” in persuading militants to surrender.

“But we have been able to prevent new recruitment and to identity those behind militant recruitments in Kashmir. My appeal to people across Kashmir is to come forward and help us prevent youth from treading the wrong path and to bring back those who have picked up arms,” he said, adding: “We assure them proper rehabilitation.”

DGP Dilbagh Singh said that police’s mission is to “stabilize peace in J&K and they are continuously working towards it”.

“During this year, there were number of successful operations against militants and most of them were clean with less collateral damage. For that, I would like to compliment field officers who remain physically present during the operation,” the DGP said.

The J&K police chief said that “killing a local militant doesn’t bring pleasure to forces, nor to his family and the civil society.”

“But a person with gun is a threat to everybody. There have been number of civilian killings and attacks on security forces, we can’t ignore that. We have to take required action and will continue to do so,” Singh said.

The DGP said that he was happy to see militant recruitment going down drastically.

“This is because of the joint efforts of parents, police, army, civil society and officers on the ground, who maintain a close contact with the families, whose children tread a wrong path,” he said.

“The number of youth, who were on the brink of joining militancy, and were brought back on time, is huge,” he added.

About the two anti-militancy operations in the past 24 hours in south Kashmir districts, the DGP said that both the operations were “clean and there was no collateral damage”.

“At Meej, Pampore, the local Jamia Masjid was used by militants, after they ran away from the target house. The field commanders exercised a lot of restraint and kept the area under cordon. The field commanders used slightly different tactics and ways to handle the operation and I am happy this morning the operation was over in a clean manner,” he said.

The DGP said that there was no damage to the mosque.

“I am glad to see local people hailing the security agencies for the clean operation and not causing any sort of damage to the mosque. Many videos are viral in this regard on social media,” he said. The DGP said that at Shopian district, five militants were killed and they belonged to Hizb and Lashkar.

“Doda in Jammu is almost militancy free as there is only one militant active in the district. In Kishtwar militancy is on the last leg as only three militants are active there,” he said.

The DGP also appealed the militants willing to surrender to lay their weapons confidentially stating that they would get all the support to lead a new peaceful life.

He said that in the coming days, security forces will give full chance to the militants who get trapped in encounters to surrender.

“We will give them ample time to think and lay down weapons,” he said.

IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar while replying to a query that whether militancy stands wiped out from South Kashmir, said that there are still 12 more days left from the current month.

“I had stated earlier that from next month, we will shift focus to north Kashmir. Let this month-end first. In the remaining days, we will clean remaining militants from South and accordingly move to the north,” he said. (KNO)

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