‘Have left the space for foreign militants, including Jaish’
Srinagar: Kashmir Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Munir Khan told reporters at the police control room here on Wednesday that local militants are “no more” in the plains of Kashmir and have moved for safety to the hills.
However, he added, “The space has been left for foreign militants, including Jaish-e-Muhammad.”
Talking to reporters about the police’s counter-insurgency operations, Khan said, “Local militants have gone into hiding after successful interventions by government forces. After the successes of the security forces in which top commanders of Lashkar (Lashkar-e-Toiba) or HM (Hizb ul Mujahideen) were eliminated, the local militants have gone into hiding and are looking for other ways to survive.”
The killing of top militant commanders Yasin Yatoo alias Mehmood Gaznavi and Bashir Lashkari in recent weeks has been a huge success for government forces. The two were the oldest surviving militants in Kashmir and were considered as the “backbone of the armed rebellion”.
“They have gone into hiding,” Khan said of local militants, “and we have reports that they have gone to higher reaches.”
The IGP said that the local militants “used to freely roam in settled areas, which has now stopped.”
“They have now given space to foreign militants, whether of Jaish (Jaish-e-Mohammad) or any other group,” he said.
Referring to the militant attack on district police lines Pulwama last Saturday, Khan said, “One or two groups of Jaish are still operating in south Kashmir and in fringes of Srinagar district.”
On reports that militants have stopped using mobile phones to avoid being traced, Khan said that mobiles or not, the militants would be neutralised.
“We are facing militancy since 1990. There was a phase when there were no mobiles, still the militants were neutralised,” he said.
The IGP asserted that the forces have to remain on high alert always. “There is no high alert, but after the Pulwama incident we have to remain more careful. We regularly tell our jawans and officers to remain alert. It is part of our drill,” he said.