Srinagar: Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S.P Vaid along with Inspector General of Police Munir Khan addressing a press conference, in Srinagar on Sunday.PTI Photo by Umar Ganie
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.