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GoI planning to re-look anti militancy ops: Rather than killing, focus to arrest militants

Srinagar: A Woman inspecting her bullet ridden and damaged house where militants were hiding during an encounter in which three militants were killed and three security personnel injured,at Chattabal in Srinagar on Saturday. PTI Photo by Umar Ganie

New Delhi, May 11: New Delhi is all set to have a re-look at its Kashmir policy in dealing with the militancy which has been on an alarming increase in the valley in recent months.

The Hindu, quoting official sources said that Centre was all set to roll out a regulated policy with government forces being asked to capture the newly recruited local militants alive and ensure that militants were made to surrender during encounters.

However, as far as ‘hardened militants’ are concerned, forces have been told to ‘go after’ them.

Quoting a senior official, the newspaper said that “according to an assessment by the central agencies, the emotional upsurge at funerals of militants killed in encounters was aiding recruitment by terror outfits”.

He said there was consensus that the killings and encounters were not yielding the desired results. “Funerals of local militants attract a large number of people; this acts as fodder. There is a correlation between the funerals and men joining terror groups thereafter. Villages are a close-knit society; we have to reduce the number of killings,” said the official.

Notching up a record, 64 militants were killed till May 6 this year in various operations — the highest in a decade for the period. In the same period, as many as 42 men had joined the terrorist ranks.

For whole of 2017, recruitments to various terror groups stood at 147. There has been a surge in local Kashmiri youth joining terror groups after the killing of HizbulMujahideen commander BurhanWani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016, it said.

The report said that there were deliberations in the government if Mohammad Rafi Bhat, an assistant professor at Kashmir University, who was killed in less than 40 hours after he joined the HizbulMujahideen, could have been arrested. Bhat was killed on May 6 along with Hizb commander Saddam Padder, who has been active since September 2014.

“The young militants are barely trained and don’t last more than a couple of hours when cornered by the security forces. It has been decided that efforts will be made to either arrest or convince them to surrender,” said the official.

A senior Home Ministry official said the non-initiation of combat operations implemented in December 1999, lasted for only five months.