300 militants active in J&K, says Army

SRINAGAR: The Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir police which have been in the forefront of counterinsurgency operations in the Union Territory said on Tuesday that the security forces have now an upper hand over separatist militants.

They also said that only a couple of hundred militants are now left in the UT and efforts are underway to ensure they do not succeed in attacking the security forces or any other targets.

The Army’s Northern Command Chief Lt. General Upendra Dwivedi while talking to reporters in the frontier town of Poonch said that among 300 militants active in J&K now 82 are foreigners. He said, “There are just 53 local terrorists active in J&K now. But what is worrisome is that there are approximately 170 more terrorists there who remain unidentified and, as per the information available to the Army, they have been tasked to indulge in criminal activities.”

He, however, hastened to add, “We will not allow their designs to succeed”. He while replying to queries said that there are about 160 militants waiting at various launching pads across the Line of Control (LoC).

Lt. Gen. Dwivedi said that the security scenario in J&K has witnessed a ‘big positive change’ after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019. “Since peace and development have gained momentum,” he said.

He said that the militants are losing ground also because they face shortage of weapons and ammunition after the Army has succeeded in plugging the routes through which they would receive supplies in the past. He said that Pakistan is now trying to airdrop arms and ammunition close to the LoC and International Border (IB). “The neighbouring country is using drones to airdrop consignments of pistols, grenades, and drugs. The small weapons they (militants) do get are being used to target non-local workforce which has been strongly condemned by the people of J&K,” he said, adding, “Those involved in killing innocents will face action.”

He said that the drone activity in the border belt remains a challenge for the security forces as it brings in not only weapons but also narcotic drugs worth billions of rupees. He said that the Army has while accepting this challenge, begun to counter it with its own drones.

Earlier during the day on Tuesday, J&K’s Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh, had said that the number of militants active in the UT has been brought to just two digits and that a “miniscule number” of foreigners among them are being tracked down.

While speaking to reporters in Baramulla town, the DGP said, “As far as the status of terrorism and militancy is concerned, the number of active local terrorists has been brought to just two digits. As of now, very less foreign terrorists are active, and they too are being tracked down”. He added, “Anti-terrorism operations are going on and very soon remaining terrorists will be eliminated too.”

Mr. Singh said that there was a time when north Kashmir was comparatively suffering more due to militancy and violence but today “this place is almost peaceful and there is less influence of terrorism here now.”

He said that “hybrid” militancy has surfaced as a major challenge to the police and other security forces as the handlers sitting across the border “are luring young boys here, giving them weapons and targets.” He, however, also said, “We’ve largely succeeded in facing this challenge and this year, so far, over 100 modules of hybrid militants were busted across J&K.”

Replying to a question on the recent threat issued to 21 Valley-based journalists through blog posts appearing in obscure website, the police chief said, “Some elements sitting across the LoC can’t digest the peace prevailing in Kashmir Valley and hence continue to issue threats to police, media persons and even public representatives. As far as the recent threat issued through the Kashmirfight it is the media that has to take the call”.

He added, “I should also say that media persons need not to worry as we have already registered a case against the blogsite and the people who run it. Strict action will be taken against them. We’re keenly watching the activities taking place on this blog site.”

Earlier, the DGP laid the foundation stone of a memorial in Baramulla’s main town square, renaming it as ‘Bindas Chowk’ after a policeman Mudasir Ahmed alias ‘Bindas’ who was killed in a gun fight with militants in the district’s Kreeri area on May 25 this year. The policeman’s father Mohammad Maqsood Sheikh who was also present on the occasion said that he was proud of his son who sacrificed his life for the nation.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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