190 militants killed in Kashmir this year: Army

Security agencies say militant leadership pushing in close relatives ‘to motivate local youth to join militancy’

Abid Bashir
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 19 2017 11:54PM | Updated Date: Nov 20 2017 1:23AM
190 militants killed in Kashmir this year: ArmyGK Photo

The army, police and the central reserve police force on Sunday said that militant leadership in Pakistan has been of late sending close relatives to Kashmir as a “motivational force to rope in more local youth into militancy.”

Addressing a joint press conference here, general officer commanding of army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, lieutenant general JS Sandhu, director general of J&K police SP Vaid, inspector general of J&K police Muneer Khan, inspector general of CRPF Zulfikar Hassan and general officer commanding Victor Force BS Raju said that the move to push in close relatives by the top leadership of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad “is being taken under pressure.”

The heads of security agencies addressed the joint press conference at the army’s 15 Corps headquarters here following killing of six Lashkar militants in a gunfight at Hajin, Bandipora, on Saturday. One of the slain militants was identified as Osama Jangvi, the son of Abdur Rahman Maki, the second-in-command in Lashkar.

“The slain Osama is also believed to be the nephew of Lashkar chief ZakiurRehmanLakhvi,” said GoC Sandhu.

Asked about close relatives of militants being killed in Kashmir, the GoC said that the militant leaders are “facing questions by their own people in their own homeland.” 

“So they are under pressure to send their close relations to Kashmir. Plus, the blood relations of top militant leaders are being sent here as a motivational force to woo as many local youth as possible,” Sandhu said.

Kashmir range inspector general of police Muneer Khan said that the militant leadership in Pakistan is “facing bankruptcy.” “This is why they are sending their relatives to Kashmir,” he said. 

On November 7 this year, the government forces claimed to have killed three militants during a gunfight in Pulwama and one of the slain militants was identified as Talha Rashid, the nephew of Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Moulana Masood Azhar.

The GoC Sandhu said that 190 militants were killed in various gunfights this year. “Of these, 80 were local and 110 foreign. Of 110 foreign militants killed, 66 were killed on the Line of Control while trying to sneak in,” he said. “This year, we have killed 125 to 130 militants in the hinterland alone.”

He said that after successful anti-militancy operations, situation across Kashmir that saw an uprising triggered by killing of BurhanWani last year, was brought “under control.”

 

ON HAJIN GUNFIGHT

The GoC said that Hajin had been under focus of the army for quite some time and search operations were started there from mid-September.

“We utilised the services of special forces while intelligence inputs also started flowing with the passage of time,” he said. “On Saturday, we killed six militants in Hajin who were all foreigners. The group was headed by Mehmood Bhai, the Lashkar commander for north Kashmir. They were hiding in a house for the past two to three days.”

He said that it was a joint operation carried out by army’s 13 RR, police and the CRPF. A Garud flight commander Jyoti Prakash Nirala was also killed in the gunfight.

Sandhu claimed that the group was involved in killing of Rashid Bila, Muhammad RamzanParray and others.

“Mehmood Bhai was instrumental in facilitating infiltration of militants and shifting militants from north to south Kashmir. He was surviving for a long time despite many efforts to kill him,” the GoC said.

He said that with the killing of Mehmood Bhai-led group, they have been able to “wipe out the Lashkar leadership from Hajin.”

Director general of police SP Vaid said that Hajin was witnessing lot of “militancy related activities, but with the killing of six militants yesterday, people have heaved a sigh of relief.”

In his address, inspector general (operations) of CRPF Zulfikar Hassan said that Hajin operation was again an example of a “great synergy” between the police, army and the CRPF. “It was a clean operation where six militants were killed,” he said.

 

‘HELPLINES SET UP FOR MILITANTS WILLING TO SURRENDER’

Security agencies in Kashmir on Sunday said that they have set up help-lines for local boys who have picked up arms and are willing to return to their homes as seen in the case of an ace footballer Majid Khan.

“We urge the local boys to return to their homes to start their lives afresh. We have information that there are many gun-wielding local youth who want to return but have no avenues. They can dial our ‘Madadgaar’ helpline number and we will facilitate their return,” said inspector general of CRPF (operations) Zulfikar Hassan during a joint press conference here.

Inspector general of police Kashmir range Muneer Khan said that the police have also established a helpline for militants “willing to join mainstream.”

Speaking on the occasion, general officer commanding of army’s Victor Force, major general BS Raju, said that the army has already established helplines to facilitate return of youth.

In his address, director general of police SP Vaid said that he was hopeful that the way footballer Majid Khan returned on the wish of his mother, the mothers of other local boys would take a cue and follow suit. “Majid will live a normal life,” he said.