Only 28 terrorists were killed in August-December 2019 as the top focus of security forces shifted from anti-militancy operations to maintaining law and order

SRINAGAR: The killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016 was a watershed moment in the cycle of militancy-related violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

The ‘new age’ militancy had arrived, and its ‘poster boy’ represented a casualty figure whose unravelling reached yet another milestone in June this year: the month was the deadliest in terms of terrorist casualties.

Most of these causalities were reported from south Kashmir which continues to be a terrorist hotbed as these figures reveal.

Also, the number of terrorists killed in June is more than the figures in five months post scrapping of Article 370 on August 5 last year. 

Only 28 terrorists were killed in August-December 2019 as the top focus of security forces shifted from anti-militancy operations to maintaining law and order.

However, June saw 22 militancy-related incidents, including 19 encounters, a hit-and-run attack on forces and two civilian killings, including that of a Kashmiri Pandit Sarpanch. In these incidents, 52 terrorists, three civilians and two CRPF jawans were killed.

Of the 19 encounters, 15 took place in four districts of south Kashmir – 5 in Pulwama, 3 in Kulgam, 5 in Shopian and two in Anantnag. Most terrorists killed in June encounters were locals and belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

The Hizb took a massive blow as most slain terrorists belonged to it. Prior to June 2020, the highest toll of terrorists in a month was recorded in November 2018 when 40 terrorists were killed in gunfights with forces as a part of ‘Operation All Out’ launched against terrorists in mid-2017 after a surge in terrorist violence post Burhan killing.

The operation was meant to regain the ground in the worst-hit south Kashmir.

Several local youth, many of them highly educated, joined the terrorist ranks after Burhan’s killing and were later killed in encounters.

In June 2017 and October 2018, 30 terrorists each were killed in gunfights with security forces while in May 2019 and April 2020, 29 terrorists each were killed in encounters.

Atul Goel, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police south Kashmir, told this newspaper that terrorists were killed because of better information and better intelligence.

“More information is coming. People are fed up with militancy and cooperating with the police,” he said adding, “People are now forthcoming and cooperating with police”.

Former Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid said killing of over 50 terrorists in a month is a “big number”. He said the rise in terrorist killings may be due to more intelligence being received by police and security forces.

“After the lock-down was imposed in the Valley following abrogation of Article 370 by centre on August 5 last year, all communication modes were suspended. As the phones and internet was suspended, obviously there was less flow of information,” Vaid said. 

The former DGP said since the lock-down was lifted, phones have been restored and 2G is also working, improving the human and technical intelligence of police and security agencies.

“I think the better human and technical intelligence is the main reason for specific information about terrorist whereabouts and subsequent encounters in which terrorists got killed,” he said.

Let Commander, 2 Other Terrorists Gunned Down

SRINAGAR: Three terrorists including a LeT commander were killed in an encounter with security forces in Sopore are in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Sunday, police said.

One of the slain terrorists has been identified as Pakistani terrorist Usman, who was involved in a recent attack on CRPF party in Sopore in which a CRPF jawan and a 65-year-old civilian were killed.