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15 foreign militants among 62 killed in Valley this year, up from last year: Police

India News

THE FIRST four months of this year have seen a big jump in the number of militants killed in Kashmir as compared to the same period last year. According to data available with the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police, 62 militants have been killed in the Valley since the beginning of the year; 37 were killed in the first four months of 2021.

More importantly, 15 of the 62 killed this year have been identified as “foreign” militants (from Pakistan). In contrast, no foreign militant was killed in the first four months of 2021; in fact, the total number of foreign militants killed in the entire year was just 20 (total 168 militants killed in Kashmir in 2021).

Sources attributed the increase to better intelligence generation by the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, and the Jammu and Kashmir Police, apart from increased operations. It is also indicative of greater push from across the border to foment trouble in the Valley, sources said.

“The recent success is a result of both good human intelligence and technical intelligence and focused operations. The consequence is that the survival rate of terrorists is drastically reducing. Of the 62 terrorists killed this year, 32 were killed within just three months of joining militancy,” IG (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar told The Sunday Express.

Explaining the lower number of killings last year, a senior security establishment officer said: “This period last year saw India and Pakistan agree to resume ceasefire in February. Pakistan at that time was also facing considerable heat from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and so did not want to make headlines for the wrong reasons. This had an impact on infiltration. However, by mid-2021, the FATF pressure on Pakistan reduced even as Islamabad regained its geopolitical importance for the west due to developments in Afghanistan. This has given some elbow room to Pakistan to once again begin to foment trouble in the Valley. They have been pushing terrorists in the Valley since mid-2021. In fact, there is suspicion that most of the foreign terrorists being killed now infiltrated last year”.

Sources said Pakistan has also changed tactics by sending in small arms, smuggled through drones, and using overground workers to launch attacks on soft targets. “This keeps the terror pot boiling without making big headlines. It is also difficult to catch these people since they are not full-time militants; they have regular jobs and even return their weapons to the handler after completing a job,” said a J&K Police officer.

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The months of March and April this year saw a redux of October 2021 when multiple attacks were launched on migrant workers and Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. While seven migrant workers and a Kashmiri Pandit were shot at by militants in these two months, there was a surge in attacks on security force pickets too.

To counter this, security forces have been regularly conducting intelligence-based operations in the Valley, killing some top commanders of outfits like the LeT and JeM, and picking up several overground workers of these groups.

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