Once the hotbed of terrorist activities in the valley, the number of terrorists in the area has now been reduced to three

Kashmir: Security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have claimed Tral area of Pulwama in south Kashmir is "terror-free" and the number of terrorists in the area has now been reduced to three. 

Once the hotbed of terrorist activities in the valley for the past several years, from poster-boy Burhan Vani, Sameer Tiger, Zakir Musa to Pulwama suicide bomber Aadil Bhatt all of them belonged to this region. Even terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul-Mujahideen at one point of time used to operate from here.

But since last year's Pulwama attack, the identity of the area has changed. In early 2019, more than 30 terrorists were active in Tral, but due to continuous anti-terrorism operations of the security forces, the number has come down to three.

According to the Jammu and Kashmir Police, as many as 18 terrorists are active in Awantipora Police division of Pulwama district, but they have been forced to hide in Abha, Samburu and Pampore areas. And due to the continuous pressure exerted by the security forces, Tral has become almost free of terrorism.

While paying tributes to the soldiers who martyred in the Pulwama attack on February 14 2019, CRPF Special DG Zulfikar Hassan confirmed that all the terrorists and the people who helped carry out the terror attack have been eliminated and subsequently terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad organisation has been completely wiped out from the area.

The Pulwama attack was planned in Tral and Adil Bhatt, who carried out this attack, was a resident of this area. Last month, security forces killed the last mastermind of the attack, Qari Yasir, along with his two other companions in the same area, after which Jaish has completely been wiped out.

But South Kashmir is still a challenge for the security forces. According to Vijay Kumar, IG of Kashmir Zone of Jammu and Kashmir Police, after the security forces killed all the top commanders of JeM, LeT and Hizbul terrorism has declined. But as many as 119 terrorists are still active in four districts of South Kashmir, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag, of which 90% is local and only 10% are foreign.

After the withdrawal of Section 370, at least 14 terrorists have been killed in six encounters in Awantipora and the anti-terrorism operation continues.