Handwara: Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh on Thursday said that the top structure of militancy in Kashmir has collapsed as 26 wanted commanders of various outfits have been killed in the past seven months and four top commanders of Lashkar killed in the past few weeks.
He termed the killing of top Lashkar commander Sajad alias Haider who was killed in Kreeri, Baramulla, on August 18 and of Naseer-u-Din Lone, who was killed yesterday in a brief shootout at Handwara area of Kupwara, as a major success for the security forces.
Addressing a joint press conference with army officials at District Police office Handwara, the DGP said that the situation is improving on the ground across Kashmir and security forces have achieved major successes in a series of successful operations conducted this year.
“This year in successful anti-militancy operations conducted across Kashmir, 26 top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad and other outfits were killed,” said Singh, flanked by IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar and Brigadier MS Rathore of army’s north Kashmir-based Kilo Fore.
Singh said that in the past few weeks, there were many successful operations, especially the two operations at Kreeri and Handwara.
“In Kreeri area of Baramulla, three militants, including top Lashkar commander Sajad alias Haider, were killed. He was operating on the lines of slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani and had lured large number of youth into the militancy fold. Another Lashkar commander Naseer, who was killed yesterday evening at Handwara, was the outfit’s sharpshooter and had killed seven security forces personnel,” the DGP said. “With the killing of Haider and Naseer, the overall structure of militancy including that of Lashkar stands collapsed which is a good sign.”
Singh said that after the killing of Haider at Kreeri, Lashkar had given control of the outfit to Naseer for the entire north Kashmir. “Naseer was active since long and had received arms training in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the police have video evidence of how Naseer killed three CRPF men in Sopore this year.
He said that two AK 47 rifles, one pistol, one AK magazine and more than three dozen AK rounds were recovered from the slain Lashkar commander Naseer and his associate.
“In the past couple of days, six militants including four top commanders of Lashkar were killed in different operations,” the DGP said. Asked whether local militant recruitment was curbed or youth continue to join militant ranks, the J&K police chief said that at least 16 active militants have shunned the path of violence and resumed their normal life and the overall local recruitment was less compared to previous years. On whether Srinagar was militancy free, the DGP said that militants come to Srinagar to meet each other and to gather information and fresh directions from their mentors. “We have launched operations in Srinagar also and recovered arms and ammunition meant to be delivered to militants,” he said.
IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that 50 militants were active in north Kashmir. “All the attacks on naka parties were reported during the Covid-19 lockdown. But we conducted a series of successful operations against militants and ensured there is no collateral damage,” he said, while replying to a query. About the number of active militants in Kashmir, the IGP said that 195 to 198 militants are active and the recruitment graph has gone down.
About last night’s operation at Handwara, Brigadier MS Rathore said that the operation was carried out in a professional manner and Naseer was caught after laying many cordons and ambushes. “He wanted to gain ground as a Lashkar commander after killing Haider,” the army officer said. About the local militant recruitment, the army officer said that six youths were apprehended by the army who had joined militancy.
On the situation at borders, he said that there is improvement as a robust counter infiltration grid is active to foil all infiltrating militants. KNO