Militants escaped from an encounter site after heavy exchange of firing with the government forces in Hakdipora village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district last night.
According to police officials government forces had laid a siege to the village and launched a search operation after inputs about the presence of at least three militants. As the searches were continuing the militants present in the area opened fire on the search party and tried to break the cordon.
Officials said that the forces retaliated, triggering an encounter, which lasted for nearly half an hour. But as soon as the news of the gunfight spread, people from nearby villages reached the encounter site and pelted stones on the forces personnel, who retaliated with teargas shells. As the militants had fled the operation was called off at around 7 am.
In South Kashmir the security scenario remains precarious as the civilians are coming to the aid of militants and helping them escape from the encounter sites. A recent report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has noted that the stepped up militant activity along the line of control (LoC) and the cross border exchange of firing between Indian and Pakistani troops has deteriorated the security scenario and the activities of militants and separatists remains a challenge.
The report has revealed that “levels of violence in the hinterland are linked to the infiltration from across the border. The activities of separatist and militant outfits also remain a challenge in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
“The report adds that the number of youth who have joined militancy has also increased in last six years. The number of youth who joined militancy in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively is 54, 23, 21, 16 , 53, 66 and 88. The MHA report further notes that a number of steps have been taken to wean away the people from joining militancy. “ Police have taken a number of initiatives for promoting youth engagement, which include organizing sports tournaments and cultural events,’’ notes the report. “ The state government is also organizing sports events nd creating employment avenues including in their civil and police departments and initiatives like UDAAN, HIMAYAT have also been taken to explore avenues of employment in private sector for youths,’’ added the report.
In the past few days forces have at least foiled two incidents of infiltration. On Sunday 4 militants and 3 soldiers were killed as forces foiled an infiltration bid from across the border.