Srinagar, Dec 31: Government forces had information about an impending strike by militants in Kashmir in the past two-three days, director general of police S P Vaid said on Sunday, hours after a CRPF camp in Pulwama district was attacked.
Five troopers were killed and two injured in the suicide attack on the CRPF training camp by two Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militants earlier in the day.
Addressing a press conference at Police Control Room (PCR) in Srinagar, Vaid, terming the attack as unfortunate, said as long as Pakistan keeps sending militants, “forces and people of Kashmir will continue to go through this”.
“There was an input in the last two-three days. They (militants) were trying. They probably could not get a place and time earlier. So, they struck last night,” Vaid told reporters at a press conference in Srinagar.
Wishing the people of Jammu and Kashmir a happy and peaceful year ahead, Vaid said that the operation was launched “not only to kill militants but also to bring them back to mainstream.”
Vaid said that there has been a lot of misconception about operation all-out.
“I want to make it clear that this operation is not only about killing militants, but also to bring them back into the mainstream. This year, while we killed 206 militants, we brought 75 youth back, who had either joined or were about to join the militancy. Apart from this seven youth, who had picked up arms, were brought back due to the support their families, shown to us,” he said.
He also said that police has achieved a major success in curbing the drug abuse by booking 34 persons under Public Safety Act (PSA)
He was outlining the achievements of Jammu and Kashmir police in 2017, and said that “almost the entire militant leadership was eliminated in Operation All Out in which 206 local and foreign militants were killed in 2017”.
However, challenges will remain as long as “our neighbour keeps sending people” here, he said.
While 31 police, army and other security forces’ personnel were killed in various violence related incidents, as many as 24 civilians also lost their lives during gun battles between security forces and militants.
Vaid said that of the 206 total militants killed this year, 40% (85) were locals. In November, police had said that 66 of the total foreign militants were killed on LoC while infiltrating.
The officers did not deliberate on causes of local Kashmiri youth continuously joining militancy.
Vaid, however, said that things are “much better” than the situation in 2016 (after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani) and there has been a “down-slide trend” of locals joining militancy.
“75 boys were brought back from the clutches of terrorism (as they were) getting swayed by the misinformation on the social media and campaign from enemies of peace,” Vaid said.
Asked why there were high civilian deaths near encounter sites, IG Munir Khan said, “This year, we have started operating in areas where for some reasons for the last two years, police could not enter. We faced stiff resistance at some places and during the course of encounters, there were some civilian causalities because of the cross-fire. We have been appealing to people to avoid going to encounter sites.”
Khan said that they decided to target the leadership of militants even as dozens of militants would move together in particular villages.
“The militants leadership besides taking active part in terrorist activities were recruiting locals whether be it Jaish, LeT or HM. That is why after targeting the militant leadership, things have improved and killings and recruitments have drastically come down,” Khan said.
Many top notch militant commanders killed this year include LeT’s Abu Dujana, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar’s nephew Tallah Rashid, JeM’s Mehmood Bhai and Noor Mohammad Trali, LeT’s Waseem Shah as well as Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, the successor of Burhan Wani as the Hizbul Mujahideen’s Kashmir chief.
J&K govt to take call on release of political leaders, no interference from us: Shah
New Delhi, Dec 10: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the local administration of Jammu and Kashmir will take a call on the release of detained political leaders in the valley and the Centre won’t interfere in the process.
Shah said the government has no intention to keep any leader under custody for a single day more than required.
“..it is for local administration to decide when political leaders will be released. We don’t want to keep anyone (leaders) in jail even for a day more than what is required. As and when the local administration feels the time is appropriate, they will be released. There will be no interference from our side,” Shah said.
He was responding to a question by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and detention of political leaders.
Taking on the Congress, Shah said, Farooq Abdullah is in custody for six months but the Congress had kept his father in custody for 11 years.
“Farooq Abdullah’s father was kept in jail for 11 years by the Congress. We don’t want to follow them and as soon as the administration decides, they will be released,” he said.
He further said all leaders should be concerned about political leaders in the valley, he is also concerned but if leaders are more worried about people of Kashmir it will send a better message.
Underlining that the situation is completely normal in the valley, Shah said, “99.5 per cent students of the eleventh class sat for exams there, but for Adhir Ranjan Ji this is not normalcy, seven lakh people availed OPD services in Srinagar, Section 144 removed from everywhere. But for Adhir Ji the only parameter for normalcy is political activity.”
Earlier Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy, responding to a supplementary question by Sridhar Kotagiri, said stone-pelting incidents have decreased substantially in 2019.
In 2018, 802 such incidents were reported which reduced to 544 in 2019, while only 190 stone-pelting incidents were reported since August 5, Reddy said.
All leading English, Urdu newspapers and TV channels are working in the valley, he said.
Committee to examine academic arrangement system
Srinagar, Dec 10: Government has constituted a five-member committee to examine all the aspects related to the hiring and remuneration of academic arrangements in various departments.
The committee, as per an official order, will be chaired by Financial Commissioner of Finance department with Secretary Higher Education Department as its Member Secretary, and Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, and Secretaries School Education and Technical Education departments as its members.
The committee has been asked to look into all aspects of academic arrangements made in various departments from time to time.
“It shall inspect the mode of hiring teaching faculty and their duration for the academic year and what will be their source of funding,” reads the order.
Government has directed the committee to suggest a common approach to address the challenges faced by the departments on account of academic arrangements.
“The committee shall be authorized to co-opt any expert in its deliberations,” the order says.
The committee, the order says, will function under the higher education department and shall submit the report and recommendation, observed during the inspection of the department, to the government by January 10.
Each year, the government hires services of hundreds of teachers on academic arrangement basis in higher education department.
In most of the colleges in Kashmir, these teachers outnumber the permanent staff members.
Last week, Lt. Governor, GC Murmu reviewed the functioning and problems prevailing in higher education department.
Besides, the Lt. Governor asked the concerned department to frame a comprehensive recruitment policy to rationalize the recruitment process.
“The higher officials have been directed to resolve all the seniority and recruitment issues in the Higher Education Department at the earliest to remove the entire bottleneck prevailing in the department,” Murmu had directed.
Life in times of fog:Zero visibility, no flights
Srinagar, Dec 10: For the fifth straight day, dense fog and poor visibility forced the cancelation of all 27 flights at Srinagar International Airport.
With this, the total number of flights cancelled due to poor visibility has crossed 116 in the last four days.
Twenty eight flights were cancelled on Monday. On Sunday, Saturday and Friday, poor visibility at the airport led to the cancellation of 26, 24 and 11 flights, respectively.
An official at Srinagar airport said there was zero visibility at the airport on Tuesday and with the result all flight operations were suspended.
“Unfortunately, all the flights got cancelled today as well. The prevailing conditions didn’t suit the operation of flights as the visibility recorded on Tuesday was zero,” he said.
Director Airport Authority of India (AAI) Santosh Dokay told The Kashmir Monitor, visibility at the runway was less than 50 meters due to the dense fog.
“At least one kilometer visibility is required for flight operation but currently we have a visibility up to 50 meters. Even zero visibility was recorded in the morning. It could lead to accidents if a plane lands or takes-off under these conditions,” he said.
What has compounded the problem is that despite upgrading Instrumental Landing System (ILS), flight operations continue to remain hit.
“We do have an ILS, which was upgraded recently and an Approach Lighting System (ALS) was also installed. The visibility range at the runway has been improved to 1000meters from two kilometers. But the kind of fog witnessed this year hasn’t been witnessed before. It is unprecedented and persists through the day,” Dokay said.
Due to frequent cancellation of flights, scores of the passengers had to return their homes on the fourth consecutive day. “Every year we have to face the situation when flights get cancelled for weeks together. Many among us have to visit outside state for medical reasons. Every time flights don’t take off,” said Aijaz Ahmad Ganie, who had to take her mother for a checkup to New Delhi.
Meteorological Department (MeT), has forecasted dense fog till Wednesday across the valley.