Se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Kash­mir bet­ter: Of­fi­cials

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Htspotligh­t - Rahul Singh and Neeraj Chauhan let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The se­cu­rity forces have been on top of the Val­ley sit­u­a­tion. Most of the mil­i­tant lead­er­ship has been elim­i­nated, which is a huge set­back for them.

ZULFIQAR HASAN ,

CRPF special di­rec­tor gen­eral (Jammu & Kash­mir Zone)

NEWDELHI: A year af­ter Jammu & Kash­mir was di­vested of its special sta­tus and split into two union ter­ri­to­ries, the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the re­gion has not only sta­bilised but also pro­gres­sively im­proved with more sup­port from the peo­ple, mul­ti­ple army, po­lice, and Cen­tral Re­serve Po­lice Force (CRPF) of­fi­cers said.

Ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment data, the num­ber of vi­o­lent in­ci­dents in Kash­mir was down to 120 from Jan­uary to July, com­pared to 198 dur­ing the same time last year.

The stone-throw­ing in­ci­dents — 102 — have also sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced this year.

Nearly 532 such in­ci­dents were re­ported in 2018 and 389 in 2019.

Of­fi­cials said ter­ror­ists are un­able to carry out grenade at­tacks due to a ro­bust pres­ence and bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion be­tween se­cu­rity forces.Only 21 grenade at­tacks have been re­ported so far this year as com­pared to 52 dur­ing the same pe­riod in 2019.

There may have been a sig­nif­i­cant de­cline in ter­ror-re­lated in­ci­dents as well as lo­cal ter­ror­ist re­cruit­ments but Pak­istan has ramped up its ac­tiv­i­ties con­sid­er­ably since the nul­li­fi­ca­tion of Con­sti­tu­tion’s Ar­ti­cle 370 that stripped Jammu & Kash­mir of its special sta­tus on Au­gust 5 last year, one of the army of­fi­cers cited above said.

A height­ened in­fil­tra­tion ac­tiv­ity and the Pak­istani army’s cease-fire vi­o­la­tions along the Line of Con­trol (LoC) and tar­get­ing of civil­ians by ter­ror groups re­main ar­eas of con­cern for se­cu­rity forces.

Of­fi­cials cited in­tel­li­gence in­puts and added they sug­gest all ter­ror launch pads across the LoC, or the de facto bor­der be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan in Jammu & Kash­mir, are ac­tive with close to 250 ter­ror­ists wait­ing to sneak into Kash­mir.

The tempo of anti-ter­ror op­er­a­tions in the hin­ter­land has de­nied ter­ror­ists space to op­er­ate even as sol­diers de­ployed along the LoC are in a high state of alert to thwart Pak­istan’s at­tempts to push in in­fil­tra­tors, a sec­ond army of­fi­cer said. The of­fi­cer added counter-ter­ror op­er­a­tions based on ac­cu­rate in­tel­li­gence have yielded re­sults dur­ing the last one year and the se­cu­rity forces have killed 136 ter­ror­ists, in­clud­ing 14 Pak­ista­nis, till July-end.

A third of­fi­cer said the lo­cal ter­ror re­cruit­ment re­mains con­fined to four dis­tricts of South Kash­mir.

Only 67 young men are be­lieved to have joined ter­ror­ist ranks since Jan­uary com­pared to 105 dur­ing the same time last year. The num­ber of ter­ror­ists ac­tive in the Val­ley is es­ti­mated to be be­low 200.

There has also been a dras­tic re­duc­tion in im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice (IED) blasts and only four such low-in­ten­sity at­tacks have been re­ported since Au­gust 5 last year. In 2019, eight IED blasts were re­ported in the first seven months of the year. They in­cluded the Pul­wama at­tack in which 40 CRPF per­son­nel were killed in Fe­bru­ary 2019 and brought In­dia and Pak­istan on the verge of war.

Of­fi­cials said the in­flu­ence of sep­a­ratists or ter­ror groups in call­ing for bandhs has also di­min­ished with only four strike calls this year com­pared to 30 in 2019. “Fewer protests have taken place this year com­pared to the pre­vi­ous two years, with the se­cu­rity forces be­ing able to counter dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns run by in­im­i­cal el­e­ments by en­gag­ing with the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion,” said a fourth of­fi­cer.

Of­fi­cials said Pak­istan­backed ter­ror­ists were try­ing to mount at­tacks on civil­ians to in­tim­i­date them into fol­low­ing their so-called Azadi nar­ra­tive and to cre­ate un­rest. But co­or­di­nated op­er­a­tions have sig­nif­i­cantly de­graded their abil­ity to carry out at­tacks, they added.

CRPF special di­rec­tor gen­eral (Jammu & Kash­mir Zone) Zulfiqar Hasan said: “The se­cu­rity forces have been on the top in the Val­ley. Most of the mil­i­tant lead­er­ship has been elim­i­nated, which is a huge set­back for them. Sig­nif­i­cantly, there have been very few civil­ian killings and re­cruit­ments of lo­cals have come down.” He added there is bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion be­tween se­cu­rity forces and the public now. “The ter­ror­ists are not get­ting any sup­port from lo­cals.”

Hasan said the law and or­der in­ci­dents con­nected with the counter-ter­ror op­er­a­tions have come down as now peo­ple do not come out in num­bers to dis­turb the se­cu­rity forces. “We have not had any big such in­ci­dent of lo­cals hin­der­ing our op­er­a­tions.”

The fourth of­fi­cer cited above said the sit­u­a­tion has im­proved but warned Pak­istan is likely to step up ef­forts to cre­ate in­sta­bil­ity in the re­gion. “The Army’s fo­cus is on strength­en­ing its anti-in­fil­tra­tion mea­sures to pre­vent Pak­istan-based ter­ror­ists from sneak­ing into Kash­mir. Our sol­diers are ready to deal with any Pak­istani mis­ad­ven­ture,” he said.

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