Anantnag: An uptick in violence in the month of December has left as many as 26 people dead and 14 others injured in around twenty militancy-related incidents, in different parts of the Kashmir valley.
Christmas this year turned out to be the bloodiest day of the month, with five militants getting killed in three gunfights in south Kashmir.
“This month has witnessed as many as 11 gunfights and 9 attacks carried out by militants,” a senior police official told Kashmir Reader, adding that 18 among the slain were militants, seven were policemen and one of them was a civilian.
The month started off with a gunfight in the Qasabyar area of Pulwama district, where police claimed to have killed an IED expert of the JEM, Yasir Parray, and his Pakistani associate.
South Kashmir has been the worst hit with 14 of the total 20 incidents taking place there. “Also more than half of the people killed (14 to be precise) were killed in south Kashmir,” the police official said.
A look at the data reveals that south Kashmir witnessed as many as nine gunfights and five militant attacks, leaving 15 militants dead, and three policemen injured.
“Also an ASI of the police was killed in one of these militant attacks in Bijbehara area of South Kashmir,” the police official said, “Two attacks were filed, one at Awantipora railway station and another in Bijbehara wherein no injuries were reported,”
A senior police official in south Kashmir explained that the spurt in militancy incidents in winters is expected given the fact that upper reaches and orchards remain out of bounds for militants.
“It is too cold for the militants to stay in orchards and the upper reaches are snowclad. This is why they are forced to take shelter in localities, where our human intelligence comes to work,” the police official said.
He said that while the militants are staying among the population, it was but natural that they will also carry out attacks. “It is a matter of who gets whom first, in such a situation. So far the forces are ahead and I expect them to be ahead in coming months as well,” the officials said.
The attacks and the gunfights, however, were not limited to only south Kashmir. Amid the bone-chilling cold, the situation in Srinagar has remained on the hotter side with the biggest militant attack of the year being carried out in the capital city.
Overall there have been five incidents of violence in Srinagar, including two gunfights and a civilian killing by unidentified gunmen. Three policemen were killed and more than 11 were injured in the militant attack carried out on December 13 in the Zevan area, on the outskirts of the Srinagar city.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, sought details of the attack soon after the news went out. “The attack has been by far the biggest since the Pulwama attack of 2019 and it was indeed a matter of concern,” a senior police official from the area said.
The attack had come hours after two Jasih Muhammad militants were killed by forces in the Rangreth area of Srinagar. Days later, on December 19, a wanted Pakistani militant was also killed in a gunfight in the Harwan area of Srinagar, the police maintained.
December’s only civilian killing also took place in Srinagar, on the same evening while the ASI was shot dead in Bijbehara. Also, militants shot at and killed a civilian in the Eidgah area of Srinagar on the evening of December 22.
Amid the chaos, the Islamic State of Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK), an organization earlier believed to have been wiped out, has announced itself on the Kashmir stage again.
While the ISJK claimed responsibility for an attack in the Rajouri Kadal area of Srinagar, where a traffic policeman was killed on December 1, the police attributed the killing of the ASI in Bijbehara to the outfit as well.
“Anantnag militant killed in Srigufwara area of Bijbehara had joined ISJK a few days ago and was involved in the killing of the ASI in Bijbehara,” a police statement had read.
Meanwhile, the north Kashmir region too did not remain totally untouched by violence. Militants struck in north Kashmir’s Bandipora , shooting dead two policemen on December 9.