61 militants killed this year: Army

Several ‘militant associates’ detained, crackdown on: Police
61 militants killed this year: Army
Security forces at the site of the gunfight in Maloora area on the outskirts of Srinagar.File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: With the killing of three militants in Kulgam on Wednesday, 61 militants have been killed this year so far, army said Thursday.

“In past six months of this year 61 militants have been killed,” Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Defence, Col Emron Musavi said in a statement here.

Defence sources said that among the slain three were foreigners and the rest were local residents. Last year till this date official data reveals that 104 militants were killed, among them 16 were foreigners.

“Much of the intelligence generated has been about movement of militants in South Kashmir and so there have been more operations,” a senior police officer said. “South Kashmir sends a maximum number of local militants to outfits.”

“It is in a North Kashmir operation that you are most likely to encounter a non-local militant. They cross the borders and then either straightaway launch an attack or hide in North Kashmir for instructions,” the officer said, adding that infiltration this year is almost none. “This year it appears the non-locals are not leaving the jungles or are hiding in remote villages,” the police officer said.

The officer said police have also detained several alleged Over Ground Workers of militants this year.

The crackdown against OGWs also referred to as ‘militant associates’ in the official handouts, is part of the larger policy to scuttle militant networks and limit their capabilities to regroup, operate or attack.

“The OGWs are the eyes and ears of militants who facilitate their movement in a particular area, manage logistical support and sometimes are part of the reconnaissance missions as well,” the officer said adding most of the alleged OGWs arrested this year were booked under stringent sections of the law including Arms Act which increases the possibility of their confinement for longer periods.

“Crackdown against the OGWs has been the priority for us. They are the sleeper cells and more connected on the ground. Besides, they have the potential to create more trouble on the ground. We have had cases in the past when many OGWs formally joined the militant ranks,” the senior police officer said.

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