Deadliest Period in 14 Years for Govt Forces as Militants Hit Back

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SRINAGAR —The first half of this year since 2005 has been deadliest for armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

Last few days alone have accounted for 10 deaths, starting with a “fidayeen” attack in South Anantnag town on 12 June when a lone unidentified militant, believed to be a Pakistani, shot dead five CRPF personnel and SHO of police station Anantnag Arshid Ahmad Khan.

The attack carried out in broad daylight by militants on KP road in Anantnag “was a daring strike”, said the senior police officer in south Kashmir, adding, “The attacker did not move from his position until he targeted five CRPF personnel and the incoming police team.”

After the Pulwama attack on 14 February, in which a suicide bomber rammed his explosive laden car into a CRPF convoy, killing nearly 50 CRPF personnel and bringing India and Pakistan on the brink of a full-blown war, militants carried out another deadly strike on Monday, this time against the Indian Army.

An explosive-laden car was detonated in Pulwama just when an army patrol was moving in the area. The explosion tore apart an army vehicle, killing at least two soldiers and wounding 18 others.

Earlier that day, an army major was killed in a gunfight with militants in Achabal in Anantnag district.

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, these deaths take the total number of casualties for armed forces in the Kashmir region up to 72 for the first six months of 2019, with a few days still remaining in June. That is the highest tally in the first six months of the year since 2005, when 105 personnel were killed during the same period.

Reports quoting sources said that the growing number of attacks on government forces has sparked concern within the security establishment. Though the government forces have killed around 115 militants so far, the number of government forces killed since January has also gone up.

Among the killed security personnel are officers while the injured personnel since January include one brigadier level officer and a DIG.

While the two sides were expected to show restraint, even the month of Ramazan turned out to be deadly. Statistics show 35 persons were killed during Ramzan from 10 May till 3 June in militancy-related incidents. Of them 27 were militants, six civilians and two army soldiers.

The deaths renew focus on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies in Kashmir, home to a long-running militancy and the primary source of discord in the India-Pakistan relationship. After first teaming up with the Kashmiri People’s Democratic Party to form the government in 2015, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has followed an increasingly militaristic approach to the conflict – with many believing that this ignores the political roots of the dispute, a news report underlined.

 


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