Srinagar: A Core Group consisting of top officials of civil administration, intelligence agencies and security forces on Friday ‘called for continued efforts along with the civil society to counter the separatist propaganda and break the cycle of violence for long term peace in Kashmir’.
The top security huddle comprising top officials of civil administration, intelligence agencies and security forces met at Badami Bagh Cantonment to review the security situation in the Valley. The meeting was co-chaired by the General Officer Commanding, Chinar Corps, Lt Gen DP Pandey and Director General of Police Dilbag Singh, said a statement issued by army.
In the meeting, Lt Gen Pandey called upon all to consider 2022 as a ‘transformative year where common man used to zero civilian casualties in 2021 should see 2022 as the year when things turned for good for the long term’.
The top army commander cautioned the trend of militants using urban areas with thick built up area for operations as they provide more avenues to hide or escape and puts higher onus in security forces to exercise restraint to avoid collateral damage.
He expressed satisfaction at low security forces casualties in 2021 by better intelligence-based operations and improved tactical drills, the army statement reads further.
“He called for continued efforts along with the civil society to counter the separatist propaganda and break the cycle of violence for long term peace in Kashmir,” it said.
“The core group reviewed the intelligence inputs and security parameters of 2021. Year 2021 witnessed a reduction in (militant) infiltration, reduced (militant) incidents, reduced (militant) recruitment, increased operations based on HUMINT, reduced collateral damage, no civil casualties in law and order situation, reduced SF casualties, increased arrest of (militants and booking of OGWs,” said a statement issued by army.
It said “all pointing to effective conduct of joint operations and activities by intelligence and security agencies. “There has been increased neutralization of Pakistani militants in last few weeks. The effort of the frontline soldiers and operatives of all agencies were acknowledged by all present,” it added.
The core group discussed fresh strategies of the militants organizations and their handlers including use of “Hybrid militants) and targeting of soft targets.”
According to the statement, 15 militants killed in 2021 were fresh names not on the security forces radar. “The core group discussed the setting up of SIA and the increased booking by NIA is showing impact of focused intelligence and investigation efforts,” it said, adding, “These efforts have been effective in targeting drug, hawala and the OGWs networks. Legal action on those willfully harbouring (militants is being increased as the harbourers have direct involvement in militant activities.”
The officials stated that the ceasefire has improved the security situation along the border, however, intelligence inputs of militant launch pads and training activities in Pakistan indicate the need to be alert along the Line of Control, it said.
“On the Line of Control, late snow has kept the infiltration routes open for longer time, however effective domination has ensured decrease in overall infiltration including those from South of Pir Panjal,” it said, adding, “The vigil on the Line of Control against infiltration of men, drugs and weapons is continuing.”
The officials shared the challenge of “propaganda of the nexus through internet and social media”.
“Sadly, these efforts include propaganda to legitimize the killing of Kashmiri civilians by the (militants). The use of social media to spread disinformation is widespread and needs to be countered proactively by a joint effort,” it said, adding, “Efforts at synergy in exposing fake news, booking of radicals trying to foment unrest and proactive sharing of information by state agencies are being upgraded.”
The DGP and the Corps Commander commended the officials present on improved security indicators. They appreciated that post the abrogation of Article 370, certain benchmarks were set which have been achieved successfully for the restoration of peace and prosperity in the region, the statement said.
“The DGP stated that reduction in local militant recruitment is one parameter that all must approach with continued focus,” it said, adding, “A special mention was made on the measures taken to minimize the collateral damage in operations despite risk to own soldiers.”
He recommended continued efforts to give chance of surrenders to local militants to give them a second chance at living a fruitful life.