A day after six “foreign” militants were killed in an encounter in north Kashmir’s Hajin area, the Army said sustained counter-insurgency operations in the Valley has resulted in a remarkable change in the security situation.
Claiming that security forces had killed at least 125 terrorists in the Valley, Lt Gen J S Sandhu, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 15 Corps, hoped that peace would be restored soon.
“We have killed about 190 terrorists as on date, in 2017. Out of these 190, 80 are local terrorists and 110 foreign. Out of these 110, 66 terrorists were killed near the LC while infiltrating. What we find this year is that we have killed approximately 125-130 terrorists in the hinterland of Kashmir Valley. This has resulted in a remarkable change in situation,” he said during a joint press briefing.
Lt Gen Sandhu lauded the joint efforts of J&K police, intelligence agencies and the CRPF.
“Based on specific information, joint operation was launched by CRPF, Army, J&K Police in which six terrorists were eliminated, all were foreign terrorists. Commend all agencies who worked to ensure success of the operation,” he said.
J&K DGP S P Vaid also hoped that Kashmir would be free from violence soon.
“Kashmir valley needs to be free from violence, terror, guns and drugs. Commendable joint effort by our agencies, jawans. Wish very soon we can see Kashmir free of violence,” he said.
In a warning to Kashmir militants, Lt Gen Sandhu said they must realise that they are proxies for Pakistan. “The local terrorists must realize that it is easy to call yourself a Mujahid. But are you a Mujahid, or just a proxy for Pakistan?” he said.
Appealing to militants to lay down their arms and surrender, Lt Gen Sandhu said: “Come back to the mainstream, this will facilitate return of peace to the valley. We are ready to receive them in an honorable manner.”
On terrorists taking advantage of the weather conditions across LoC to infiltrate into India, Lt Gen Sandhu said the Army is undertaking “major measures” to plug the gaps in the border.
On Saturday, six “foreign” militants, including the nephew of Lashkar-e-Toiba chief and 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were killed in a gunbattle.
Officials said the operation also resulted in the death of an IAF Garud commando and injuries to a soldier from 13 Rashtriya Rifles. J&K DGP S P Vaid had said, “Six LeT terrorists including two commanders, Mehmood and Zargam, were eliminated, and weapons and ammunition recovered from them.”
Vaid confirmed that one of the militants killed was Owaid alias Osama, 25, the son of Lakhvi’s brother Zaki-ur-Rehman Makki. Police sources said Owaid had entered the Valley last year through Kupwara or Gurez, along with a group of militants. He was active in north Kashmir before zeroing in on the Hajin area this year, they said.