Toll and recruitment have only grown here, despite forces’ efforts
Anantnag: The number of militants killed in south Kashmir since January this year has already surpassed the number of militants active in the region at the time of Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani’s killing on July 8 last year.
The initial impression might have been that the militancy was on the decline in the region. The figures, however, suggest otherwise, with the number of active militants just a little less than double of what it was at the time of Burhan’s killing.
According to sources privy to official records, the number of militants killed across south Kashmir from January this year till October 14 is 77, which is three more than the number of militants active just before Burhan was killed.
“Seventy-four militants were active in south Kashmir when Burhan was killed last year. The number included seven to 10 foreign militants, including the likes of Dujana and Abu Ismail, all of whom have now been eliminated,” the sources told Kashmir Reader.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Munir Khan on Monday told news reporters that around 12 top commanders were among the 140 militants that have been killed so far this year.
“We have been targeting the militant leadership as they are the ones who lure youth into militancy,” Khan said in the press conference.
He said that the number of militants was decreasing ever since a collective operation was started against them. “But recruitment continues to remain a major challenge for us.”
While the “decreasing number of militants” might be true in the larger picture, in south Kashmir the number has been swelling despite the apparent success of the “Operation All-out”, thus justifying Khan’s remark about recruitment being a problem.
As per the records, the number of militants active in the four districts of south Kashmir right now stands at around 110.
“Then there are some youth who have gone missing from their homes and are believed to have joined militant ranks,” sources said, adding that the number of such youth is between 10 and 15.
But there needs to be a confirmation on their status and hence they are not included in the number of active militants, the sources told Kashmir Reader.
The number of non-local militants, including Jaish-e-Mohammad cadre, stands at least at 15 and not more than 20.
While the government forces are conducting relentless operations against the militants, they at the same time have been appealing that the militants give up arms.
Director General of Police S P Vaid has on several occasions so far appealed to the militants to leave shun arms and merge back into the “mainstream”.
Even the Inspector General (IG) of the paramilitary CRPF, Zulfikar Hassan, on Monday asked the militants to surrender.
“We request militants to surrender. We will walk hundred steps for them and ensure their proper rehabilitation and safety,” Hassan said in the joint press conference.
The State’s ‘carrot and the stick’ approach, however, does not for now seem to lure or deter the militants for neither are they surrendering (even at sites of encounters) nor are they backing down in the face of ‘Operation All-out’.