12 militants killed in Ramadan so far

Amid surge in encounters during Ramadan across south and north Kashmir with 12 militants having been killed since May 10, the security agencies on Saturday attributed the success of operations to “credible flow of information” about the presence of militants.

After the killing of a militant affiliated with the Islamic State of Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) on May 10 at Shopian, the encounters between the militants and the security forces have witnessed increase.

Official figures suggest that six major encounters took place between May 10 and May 18 resulting in the killing of 12 militants. “Among the slain militants was a top Jaish-e-Muhammad commander Khalid Bhai, a foreigner. He was involved in many attacks on security forces including the one in 2017 on CRPF at Lethpora, Pulwama resulting in the killing of five CRPF men,” said a police official, wishing not to be named.

Of the six major gun-battles since May 10, five took place in the twin southern districts of Pulwama and Shopian, and one in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

“On May 18, in Anantnag, another encounter was about to begin but the militants managed to flee after initial exchange of fire,” said a police officer.

A top police officer speaking to Greater Kashmir on condition of anonymity admitted that there has been a “slight surge” in the encounters in the past over a week. “The reason is credible flow of information about the presence of militants,” the officer said.

He said the number of militants killed this year has touched 84, highest ever since 2016.

“The important thing about the operations is that not a single foreign militant has been killed on the LoC this year so far,” he said. 

The officer said that security forces had established a contact few days back with a group “that seemed to be a part of a fresh and first infiltration bid this year” at Kandi belt of north Kashmir’s Kupwara, but the militants seemed to have moved to upper reaches. “They will be traced soon,” he said.

“More people are coming forward with the credible leads now. Though human intelligence was already there, but it has of late increased as is evident from our apt operations,” the source revealed.

He said that besides the successful operations, many local boys who had picked up arms also decided to return and “in the past few months, many youth shunned militancy and returned to normal life.”