SRINAGAR – Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said on Wednesday the number of local youths joining militancy has witnessed a considerable drop while attempts of infiltration from Pakistani side of Kashmir has increased. He also asserted that following improvement in the situation post abrogation of special status of J&K, the focus is back on militants.
Addressing a press conference, DGP Singh said the overall situation in the Kashmir valley remained by and large peaceful since August 5 and that the security forces have now once again initiated operations against militants.
Singh said the number of local youths joining militant rank has witnessed considerable drop during the past few months, particularly after August 5.
There were apprehensions that youth would join militancy after the Centre’s August 5 decision but those were unfounded, the police chief said.
“People had apprehensions that youth will join militancy in huge numbers. But… very few youth have joined militant ranks in this period (since August 5)… Five to six youth are missing, but we cannot confirm that they have joined militancy. There can be other reasons as well, he said.
The police chief however said a “sizeable number” of militants had infiltrated since August 5.
“(It is) difficult to give a number of militants who have come in after August 5. But their number is sizeable that much I can say,” he told reporters in response to a question.
“Their sightings have taken place at a number of places in north as well as south Kashmir. Going by that, we feel the number is sizeable. It is not that big that we should be very worried about it. As it happens, they send some number, we deplete some number. So, therefore, that process is on,” he said.
“Few militants have infiltrated, but many of their attempts have been rendered unsuccessful. Ceasefire violations are on in Rajouri-Poonch, Hira Nagar-Samba, Karnah-Uri, Machhil, Keran and Gurez sectors and it has become a routine. Whenever Pakistan violates the ceasefire, its attempt is push in more militants… (Pakistan) Army and ISI are fully involved at (militant) launch pads near the LoC to push in militants,” he said.
“Some innocent people were killed by militants in Pulwama and Shopian, including a labourer and a trader from outside the state. The incidents were severely criticized by Kashmiri people. Security was enhanced in south Kashmir and the focus, which was given to law and order, is back on militants after improvement in the situation,” Singh told reporters.
He said the youths of the valley have now understood that violence will lead to death and destruction only. It is only education and peace which can help them to achieve new heights in the life, he said.
He said security forces have once again initiated operations against militants. “Since reinitiating operations against militants, three of them were killed in Anantnag, three more were killed in Pulwama on Tuesday,” he said.
Answering a question whether postpaid and landlines phones service will again be suspended in the state before October 31, he said there were no such directions so of now.
Singh said that the situation is normal in north Kashmir with heavy movement of traffic on the roads and setting up of stalls on roads sides by vendors. “Hopefully normalcy is also restored in south and central Kashmir,” he said.
Asked about the detention of youth in Kashmir following the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, he said there is a lot of misinformation and propaganda.
Some “very responsible media circles”, he added, quote figures without verification or without getting in touch with them.
Most youth picked up were let off after counselling.
“In fact, overall also if you see, out of every five persons who were arrested, four were left and only about one was retained. We are not fond of keeping people in our custody unnecessarily. All the detentions were aimed at the maintenance of public order,” he said.
According to Singh, no one has been tortured and no youngster or teenager or juvenile arrested or detained.
“In some cases, where the age was doubtful, that age has been verified and after verification, we have taken legal action. And wherever a juvenile was arrested, provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act were followed very strictly…, he said.
The DGP said arrangements had been made for local body polls and they will be peaceful.
AGH wiped out from Kashmir: DGP
The Al Qaeda’s offshoot in Kashmir, Ansar Ghazwat-ul Hind (AGH), has been wiped out from the Valley with the killing of the group’s chief Hameed Lone alias Lelhari and two other militants, Director General of Police Dilbag said on Wednesday.
Lelhari, was the successor of Zakir Musa, the founder of the AGH in Kashmir, who had vowed allegiance to the Al Qaeda and was killed in an encounter in May this year.
Police chief said the operation was carried out following a tip-off from the local police.
Besides Lelhari, others killed in Tuesday’s encounter are Naveed Ahmed Tak and Junaid Rashid Bhat.
“All the killed terrorists as per police records were part of the Zakir Musa group and were wanted by police for their complicity in a series of terror crimes, including attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities,” Singh said.
The police chief said the anti-militancy operation had dealt a severe blow to the AGH.
According to Singh, the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed was also trying to coordinate with other terror groups, including the AGH, in Kashmir to carry out attacks.
“The AGH has been wiped out but some elements who are overground workers are there. They suddenly crop up and join militant ranks… But, as of now, the AGH has been wiped out from Kashmir,” Singh said.
“The JeM is trying to coordinate with every militant group in Kashmir. JeM and LeT get directions from Pakistan on who to target, what type of violence to incite and at which level. So JeM and LeT are both trying to coordinate with every group,” he added.
Asked if the AGH’s contact with JeM meant it was in Pakistan’s hold, the DGP said the connection is “indicated”.
“It is difficult to say but I would say that at a local level that connection is visible, that connection is being indicated, that it is being directly run by Pakistan as of now,” he said.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.