26 wanted commanders killed in 7 months, Haider was like Burhan Wani, Naseer was a sharpshooter, had killed 7 security men; less than 200 active militants in Valley, 50 active in north Kashmir: IGP Kashmir, recruitment graph low
Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh Thursday said that the top structure of militancy in Kashmir has collapsed as 26 wanted commanders of various outfits were killed in the past seven months and four top commander of Lashkar were killed in past few weeks alone.
He termed the killing of top Lashkar commander Sajad alias Haider who was killed in Kreeri, Baramulla encounter on August 18 and Naseer-u-Din Lone, who was killed yesterday in a brief shootout at Handwara are of Kupwara as a major success for the security forces.
Addressing a joint press conference with the army officials at District Police Office Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kuwpara district, the DGP Singh said that situation is improving on ground across Kashmir and security forces have achieved major successes in the series of successful operations conducted this year since January.
“This year in the successful anti-militancy operations conducted across Kashmir, 26 top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad and other outfits were killed,” said DGP Singh, who was flanked by IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar and Brigadier M S Rathore of army’s north Kashmir based Kilo Fore. The DGP said that in the past few weeks, there were many successful operations, especially the two operations one at Kreeri, Baramulla and another one at Handwara, Kuwpara, local news agency KNO reported.
Dilbag Singh said “A total of 26 militant commanders — who were either number one or number two — have been eliminated in the last seven-and-a-half months, after which their leadership structure has been broken to a great extent. This is a huge success for the security forces and has given respite to people,” the DGP told reporters at a press conference in the Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Singh, however, said militancy does not end by killing militants and underlined the importance of stopping youngsters from picking up guns.
“In Kreeri area of Barmaulla, three militants, including top Lashkar commander Sajad alias Haider. He was operating on the lines of slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani and had lured large number of youth into the militancy fold. Another Lashkar commander Naseer, who was killed yesterday evening at Handwara, was the outfit’s sharpshooter and had killed seven security forces personnel,” the DGP said. “With the killing of Haider and Naseer, the overall structure of militancy including that of Lashkar stands collapsed which is a good sign.”
He said in the ensuing year, 26 top commanders were killed in various anti-militancy operations. The DGP said that after the killing of Haider at Kreeri, Baramulla, Lashkar had given control of the outfit to Naseer for the entire north Kashmir. “Naseer was active since long and had received arms training in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the police have the video evidence of how Naseer killed three CRPF men in Sopore this year. He said that two AK 47 riffles, one pistol, one magazines, AK magazines and over three dozen AK rounds were recovered from the slain Lashkar commander Naseer and his associate.
“In the past couple of days, six militants including four top commanders of Lashkar were killed in different operations,” the DGP said. Asked whether local militant recruitment was curbed or youth continue to join militant ranks, the J&K police chief said that at least 16 active militants have shunned the path of violence and resumed their normal life and the overall local recruitment was less compared to previous years. On whether Srinagar was militancy free, the DGP said that militants come to Srinagar to meet each other and to gather information and fresh directions from their mentors. “We have launched operations in Srinagar also and recovered arms and ammunition meant to be delivered to militants,” the DGP said.
Speaking on the occasion, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that 50 militants were active in north Kashmir. “All the attacks on naka parties were reported during the Covid-19 lockdown. But we conducted a series of successful operations against militants and ensured there is no collateral damage,” he said, while replying to a query. About the number of active militants in Kashmir, the IGP said that 195 to 198 militants are active in the past and the recruitment graph has gone down, as per the report of Groundreport.in.
About last night’s operation at Handwara, M S Rathore Brigadier Kilo Force said that the operation was carried out in a professional manner and Naseer was caught after laying many cordons and ambushes. “He wanted to gain ground as a Lashkar commander after killing of Haider,” the army officer said. About the local militant recruitment, the army officer said that six youth were apprehended by the army who had joined militancy. On the situation at borders too has improved as robust counter infiltration grid is active to foil all infiltrating militants.
The infiltration from Pakistan administrated Kashmir (PaK) has come down mainly due to strict vigil being maintained by alert security forces at the Line of Control (LoC) though Pak Army made repeated attempts to send militants into this side under the cover of darkness, DGP Singh told reporters here after the successful Handwara in which two LeT militants were killed.
Asked about the Centre’s decision to withdraw 100 companies of paramilitary forces from the valley, he said the calibration of the forces’ levels happens from time to time.
“We had done a huge deployment here on the basis of requirements…. I am thankful to the MHA for supporting us always and I thank those troops as well. Now they are needed at some other place or at their original areas,” the DGP said, as per the report of PTI.
On the investigation into an alleged fake encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, in which the Army had claimed that three militants were killed, Singh said the probe will be fair.
“Our parallel inquiry is on and I can assure you that the investigations will be fair,” he said.