Come May 8 and for at least six months, security agencies in Kashmir will remain on tenterhooks as massive anti-militancy operations will be launched across South Kashmir to inflict ‘as much as possible damage to militants’.
All security agencies, Army, Police and the CRPF, are already in a huddle—first to ensure smooth opening of Civil Secretariat offices on May 8 in Srinagar and then to take on militants in South Kashmir.
“The operation launched in Shopian district recently was actually aimed at dominating the area and to send a message to militants that forces are ready to deal with any challenge. Such operations will continue and all the security agencies are ready to face the challenge,” said IG CRPF (Srinagar sector) Ravideep Sahi.
CRPF spokesman in Srinagar, Rajesh Yadav said that forces have already worked out a summer plan and one of the priorities will be to take on militants in South Kashmir. “Recent videos by militants on social networking sites are a big challenge for the security forces. Once government will start operating in Civil Secretariat smoothly, forces will go after the militants,” he said.
According to official figures, at least 150 local militants have joined various militant ranks of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen and majority of these militants are operating in South Kashmir districts—Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam.
“The total number of militants revolves around 300 to 350 including foreigners. But yes, number of local militants this time around is more than foreigners and that’s for sure,” police sources reveal.
A senior police officer, wishing not to be named, said that even though Srinagar has been witnessing movement of militants but “it has been observed that they don’t stay in the summer capital for long.”
“The southern districts are proving to be a safe haven for militants, who enjoy a great public support. Otherwise, we have a great and massive informer base and intelligence set up,” the officer said.
“The anti-militancy operations in South Kashmir will be a challenge as the new phenomenon of locals, especially youth rushing to encounter spots has been disturbing us,” he added.
Nevertheless, he said, a joint and well-coordinated anti-militancy operations are on cards and “we will not hesitate.” “The only concern will be to deal with the protestors at the encounter sites,” he said.
An Army officer, posted in South Kashmir said earlier, ensuring smooth Parliamentary polls was a challenge and now that is over in the wake of Election Commission’s decision to call off the polls. This he said has resulted in a major breather for forces.
“Now going after militants won’t be easy,” he said. “The outer layer of cordon to deal with the protestors at encounter sights will be stronger and it would be ensured that no protestors’ inches closer to the gunfight spots. We will be closing the operation soon after eliminating the militants and leave the law and order situation to police and CRPF,” the officer added.