Jammu & Kashmir: Militant violence
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Incidents and fatalities, 1990-2014
Terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir
See graphics, 'Terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990-2014'
Terrorist violence J&K 1990-2003 Terrorist violence J&K 2004-March 2017
[13,796 civilians killed in J&K since start of militancy: MHA The Times of India 19 April 2018]
As many as 13,796 civilians and 5,123 security force personnel have been killed in Jammu & Kashmir since the advent of militancy in the 1990s. In fact, fatal civilian casualties in the state in 2017 were the highest in five years, registering a 167% rise to 40 from 15 in 2016.
2002-19: the five worst incidents
Some deadliest Jammu & Kashmir terror attacks- October 1, 2001 - November 2002- fatalities;
Some details about the deadliest attack on February 14, 2019
Terror incidents, 2010-June 2017
2014-19 Feb: fatalities
2014- Feb 19- fatalities in Jammu & Kashmir
There were 777 incidents of infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir in which 94 terrorists were killed by security forces in past two years, the Rajya Sabha was informed today. Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said there were 16 incidents of infiltration into Punjab in which seven terrorists were killed and 11 others were apprehended in past two years. Replying to a written question, Rijiju said there were 406 cases of infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir in 2017 in which 59 terrorists were killed. In 2016, there were 371 incidents of infiltration into the State in which 35 militants were killed and three were arrested, he said. The Minister said security forces have been carrying out effective domination through round-the-clock surveillance, patrolling, border ambushes and by deploying observation posts along the International Borders of the country. "The riverine segments of international borders of the country are being patrolled and dominated with the help of water crafts/speed boats/floating Border Out Posts (BOPs) of Border Security Force (BSF) water wings," he said. Rijiju said introduction of force multipliers and hi-tech surveillance equipment fullyequipped with day and night vision devices have enhanced the border domination. "Vulnerability mapping of entire border has been made a continuous process based on which sensitive spots are identified and adequate measures are taken to further strengthen security in these spots," he said. The Minister said it has also been decided to deploy technological solutions in the form of Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS), on a pilot basis to begin with, in different terrains on India-Pakistan border and India-Bangladesh border. The technological solutions are based on integration of sensors and surveillance equipment like radars, day and night vision cameras etc. In a network architecture with command and control system, he said. There were 4,799 stone-pelting incidents and 872 terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in past three years. Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said 730 incidents of stone pelting were reported in 2015. In 2016, he said, 2,808 such incidents were reported, and in 2017, the incidents numbered 1,261. In a written reply to a question, he said there were 208 incidents of terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015, 322 in 2016 and 342 such incidents in 2017. Twenty-nine Army personnel lost their lives in nine terror attacks on defence stations and Army camps in Jammu and Kashmir since 2015, the Government informed the Lok Sabha today. Twenty terrorists were killed and two civilians lost their lives in the attacks, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a written response to a question in the Lower House. The highest casualty was in 2016, when a group of terrorists stormed an Army camp in Uri, resulting in the death of 26 personnel. This year, one terror attack
Deaths in Kashmir: militants, civilians, policemen/ / 2014-15
1. The Times of India, June 20, 2011
2. J&K government documents
State data refutes claim of 1 lakh killed in Valley
They are figures that have been quoted so often that they are widely believed to be true: almost 100,000 dead Kashmiri civilians and 10,000 people who have disappeared in the last two decades. From public meetings in small villages to TV studios, from online pages to newspaper reports, these figure are cited and printed, used to stir emotions and silence voices in Kashmiri society. But nobody bothers to explain how these figures were arrived at. TOI accessed Jammu & Kashmir government documents to arrive at the truth behind the urban legend. Collected between January 1990 and April 2011, the records are comprehensive and give year-wise breakup of all violent incidents in the state, the nature of the acts of violence, the number of people killed, and also the circumstances that led to the deaths.
Here’s what the data says. In the last 21 years, 43,460 people have been killed in the Kashmir insurgency. Of these, 21,323 are militants, 13,226 civilians killed by militants, 3,642 civilians killed by security forces, and 5,369 policemen killed by militants.
43,460 people killed in Kashmir insurgency between Jan 1990 and April 2011
21,323 were militants 13,226 civilians killed by militants
3,642 civilians killed by security forces
5,369 policemen killed by militants
Militants have killed over 13,000 Kashmiris since 1990
It seems that claims made by separatists on the number of Kashmiris killed during the insurgency are far from the truth.
Of the 43,460 people killed in the Kashmir insurgency in the last 21 years, 21,323 militants were killed in operations by security forces and include both Kashmiri and foreign militants. And of the 5,369 members of the security forces killed by militants, around 1,500 are Kashmiri policemen.
The government has collated the figures of civilians killed by security forces since 1990: it lists 3,642 people. The numbers vary from a high of 539 civilians killed in 1990, the year in which 51 people were massacred by the CRPF in just one incident when it fired at a crowd of protesters on a bridge at Gaw Kadal in downtown Srinagar, to 120 protesters killed across the state in firing by the police and paramilitary forces in the summer of 2010. The records also show another slaughter that has gone on ceaselessly since 1990, a slaughter that nobody comments on, nobody laments: of Kashmiris killed by militants since 1990. Of the 13,226 civilians killed by militants, 11,461 were shot and 1,765 died in grenade blasts and explosions.
These deaths are the ugly truth that Kashmir has learnt to ignore. The civilians killed fall into a black hole that Kashmiri society never discusses, remembers or protests against. They include two young sisters, Arifa (16) and Akhtara (18), who on January 31, 2011, were dragged out of their one-room house in downtown Sopore and killed. Akhtara took four wounds on her face and Arifa was shot in the chest. They were accused of being “immoral.”
The moderate, the mukhbir (informer), the political activist or the unlucky bystander, these deaths are forgotten the day after they occur. But the central message is remembered: if you cross the line, you shall pay with your life. The knowledge that you can be killed anytime, anywhere, and the fear of the hidden assassin, has percolated across society. That’s why separatist leaders like Omar Farooq or Abdul Ghani Bhatt, who have spent years spreading the truth about the atrocities on Kashmiris by security forces, are protected by the very same CRPF and J&K police. That’s why many journalists in Kashmir are followed around by armed policemen. No local newspaper dares print a story accusing militants of killing a civilian; the operative word is “unidentified gunmen”.
These 13,226 Kashmiris just do not exist in the collective psyche. There are no websites to them, no petitions and no organizations to keep alive their memory. Their only contribution has been to cement fear in 70 lakh people, where a clear distinction exists between what is said privately and in company. These figures are from the government. They make no mention or distinction between the official account and what sometimes happens in this dirty war. For example, there’s no clarity on whether the 21,323 militants claimed killed in operations by security forces includes or excludes the six innocent Kashmiri boys picked up and murdered by the Army after the Chittisingpora massacre in 2000.
The Army had claimed they were foreign militants responsible for killing 36 Sikhs in Chittisingpora. The CBI later said the Army had abducted the six from places around Anantnag and shot them in cold blood. Or the three innocent young Kashmiris “bought” by an Army unit for Rs 50,000 each and murdered in Machil in April 2009.
So, how many militants killed were actually militants? How many of the civilians killed by militants, as claimed by the government, were victims of Hizbul Mujahideen and the Lashkar and not of “government agencies” as the separatists claim? Unfortunately, neither the Hurriyat nor the LeT have any lists of their own. The only thing these records establish is that one lakh people haven’t died in Kashmir insurgency.
What they help prove is that minus the some 4,000 jawans of the Army, BSF and the CRPF and the 5,000 odd “mehman mujahideen” from Pakistan, 34,000 Kashmiri men and women have died violent deaths as militants, mainstreamers, moderates or mukhbirs.
2015: Fewer civilians killed, but terrorist violence up
The Times of India, Nov 03 2015
Bharti Jain Fewer civilians killed, but terrorist violence up in J&K
Jihadis going more after securitymen
Terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015 has surpassed the levels recorded in 2014, with 169 incidents and 35 security personnel killed until October 25 as compared to 167 incidents and 30 force casualties in the corresponding period in 2014. Though 86 terrorists were neutralized till October 25 against 83 in the same period of 2014 and the civilian casualties caused while maintaining law and order stagnated at four, the number of civilian killings by the militants fell to 16 from 20 last year.
The latest statistics mark a year-on-year increase in most terror indices related to J&K. In fact, at 169 incidents until October 25, the figure of 170 incidents recorded in the whole of 2014 is set to be surpassed soon. Nevertheless, incidents have shown a steady decline from the high of 488 recorded in 2010, followed by 340 in 2011 and 220 in 2012.The security forces killed in terrorism-related incidents is lower than 2013 but higher than the 2011 and 2012 figure.
Terrorists, wary of losing ground support, are going after security forces more than civilians. Civilian killings have fallen from 28 in 2014, though they exceeded the levels (15 fatal casualties) seen in 2012 and 2013.
The security forces are not taking the higher casualties lying down and are retaliating in equal measure to terrorist attacks. As many as 86 terrorists were killed until October 25, as compared to 67 in 2013 and 72 in 2012. It remains to be seen if the 2015 figure of terrorist killings will surpass the 2014 mark of 110.
According to home ministry sources, around 200-220 terroristsmilitants, both local and foreign, are estimated to be holed up in the Valley .Though they possess arms, not many are actively engaging security forces in encounters. “This could be due to their poor and inadequate train ng. Earlier, militants could exfiltrate and train at camps n PoK but the heightened vigil by Indian forces at the border has made this a difficult proposition... not many ocal recruits are well-versed n the use of arms, which has made them less of a worry to he security agencies,“ a senior officer in the security es ablishment told TOI.
Sources said much of the local recruitment was taking place in Tral and Pulwama.“Many of the new recruits are unable to adapt to the hard life of a militant that involves liv ng in the jungles... they are not as committed or hardened and there have been some cases of these terrorists want ng to return to their fam lies,“ the officer said.
2016: An increase in soldiers killed
The Times of India, Dec 18 2016
Terrorists Hit Army Convoy In Pampore
Terror attack in Pampore, in which three soldiers were killed, took the number of casualties among forces this year to 87, making 2016 the bloodiest year since 2008 for security personnel in Jammu & Kashmir.
Two motorcycle-borne terrorists opened fire on an Army convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in south Kashmir's Pulwama district in the afternoon. Police sources and eyewitnesses said terrorists wearing pherans fired incessantly at vehicles carrying the Army men near Kadlabal in Pampore. After the attack, the terrorists fled from the spot, sources said.
A massive search opera tion had been launched, an Army spokesperson said.The security forces exercised restraint due to the presence of a large number of civilians in the nearby market, police said.
According to terrorwatch data site SATP, 84 security force personnel were killed in 2016, till last week, in various terror-related incidents in the conflict-ridden state. In 2008, which was marked by the Mumbai terror attacks and the subsequent escalation of tension between India and Pakistan, 90 security personnel were killed in the state. The following year, 78 se curitymen were killed in various terror-related incidents. The number of casualties among the forces dropped sharply to 17 in 2012.In 2013, the number went up to 61but came down steadily to 51 in 2014 and 41 in 2015.
Of the 87 casualties in 2016, 71 were killed in Kashmir Valley. More than three dozen Army men, including half a dozen officers, were killed in different attacks in 2016.
Nineteen Army men were killed in the Uri terror attack this year that led to massive ceasefire violations along the Indo-Pak border.
Security convoys have been targeted several times through the Pampore stretch of Srinagar-Jammu national highway that is also used to carry supplies to the Srinagar-based 15 Corps of the Indian Army . On February 20 this year, militants attacked an Army convoy and then took refuge in the government-run Entrepreneurship Development Institute. In the three-day standoff, three soldiers, including two captains and a Special Forces operator, were killed and part of the building was destroyed. On June 25, Lash kar-e-Taiba terrorists ambushed a CRPF convoy along the same Srinagar-Jammu national highway near Frestabal area of Pampore, killing eight officers.
The EDI building in Pampore was again targeted in October, resulting in another three-day stand-off between the forces and militants.
2016: Killing Of Terrorists Up 300%, Force Casualties 87%
Killing Of Terrorists Up 300% From 2015 While Force Casualties Have Jumped 87%
Terror-related violence in Jammu & Kashmir has peaked to its highest level in four years, with incidents up 47% and killing of terrorists witnessing a 300% spike over 2015. Also, with fidayeen going after security personnel and their camps, force casualties have jumped 87% from 39 in 2015 to 71 till November 27, 2016.
In yet another interesting set of data put out in reply to a different question, the home ministry said 437 ceasefire violations were reported in 2016 in J&K until November 30, up from 405 in 2015. Of the 437 violations in 2016, 221 took place on the international border manned by BSF and 216 along the Line of Control guarded by the Army . The corresponding figures in 2015 were 253 violations on the international border and 152 on the LoC.
The ceasefire violations in 2016 resulted in killing of 12 civilians and injuries to 80 others, apart from leaving 111 houses structures damaged as on November 7, 2016. While eight Army personnel were killed and 74 injured till November 26 (as against six killed and 17 injured in 2015), the BSF suffered five fatal and 25 non-fatal casualties till November 30 this year.
The ceasefire violations in 216 temporarily displaced 27,449 people in J&K as they shifted to safer locations following the surgical strikes. Of this, around 6,000 persons were accommodated in relief camps and others stayed with their relatives. Majority of these people have now returned home and only around 220 families comprising around 700 persons are lodged in three relief camps.
At least 42 people, including nine policemen, were killed in Kashmir in June 2017 in what could be the bloodiest Ramzan in the Valley in years. The toll includes 27 militants and six civilian deaths.
Security forces’ casualties, 2016-July 2017
The significant casualties suffered by the J&K police and CRPF in the fidayeen attack at Pulwama come at the back of a comparatively good year so far for the forces, with 31 security personnel martyred and 101 injured against 62 deaths and 192 injured in all of 2016.
Though attacks are higher with 79 cases of security forces having been targeted in the Valley state till August 25 as compared to 100 in 2016, the figure for July is way below June when a spurt in attacks on J&K police and para-military forces was reported.There were 12 attacks that killed three personnel and injured 10 in July this year, down from 26 attacks, 13 fatal casualties and 35 injured in June.Just one security personnel was killed in August (in first 25 days) but now with the Pulwama reverses, it will be fairly close to the eight fatal casualties reported in August 2016.
This year, attacks on uniformed men peaked in June but have been on the decline since with 12 attacks in July and six so far in August. Similarly , notwithstanding the high killings of terrorists in J&K this year (134 till August 17), the security force killings are half of the 2016 figure. 16 security personnel were killed and 54 injured in the past two-and-a-half months, as compared to 21 killed and 123 injured in the corresponding period of 2016. “The sustained intelligence-based operations undertaken in the recent months are carefully planned and carried out with close coordination among the J&K police, Army and CRPF, minimising casualties,“ said a senior official.
According to the agencies, with the heavy reverses inflicted on terrorists, J&K terror outfits are under pressure to retaliate. The fidayeen attack at Pulwama bears the fingerprints of Jaish-e-Mohammad, which had also carried out the Pathankot strike. “The terrorists in Pulwama are believed to be of foreign origin,“ said a senior intelligence officer.
Terror-related violence in Jammu & Kashmir, 2016- Oct 22, 2017
More jihadis killed
New Delhi: Infiltration Too Shows A Downturn
As counter-terror forces mount offensive against terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir, the gains are starting to show. As many as 92 terrorists were killed till July 2 this year, against 79 in the corresponding period of 2016. In fact, the numbers of terrorists killed in counter-insurgency operations so far this year have surpassed the yearwise figures for 2012 and 2013 when UPA was in power. While 72 and 67 terrorists were eliminated in J&K in 2012 and 2013 respectively , the numbers picked up during NDA's tenure, touching 110 in 2014, 108 in 2015 and 150 in 2016.“Terrorists killed till July 2 this year are only slightly less than killings through 2014 and 2015,“ a senior home ministry official said, attributing the successes to seamless coordination between the Army , central forces, state government and intelligence agencies.
“The forces have been given a free hand to track and intercept the terrorists holed up in the valley, before launching intelligence-based operations with due mapping of the target and how to neutralise ter rorists with minimum collateral damage,“ said a senior home ministry functionary .
The official underlined that among the 92 terrorists killed in J&K till July 2, most of the targets were big and prominent terror operatives.
Infiltration figures also show a decline. As against 371 infiltration cases recorded in 2016, 124 were recorded till May-end this year. “Many of these 124 terrorists have been neutralised since,“ said a home ministry official.
While terror-related incidents were higher at 168 till July 2 this year as compared to 126 in the corresponding period of 2016, stone-pelting incidents witnessed a dip.
2017: major attacks
Major militant attacks in Jammu & Kashmir in 2017
The fifth attack referred to in the picture took place on the Sunjuwan Military Station, Jammu, on 10 and 11 Feb 2018.
2016- June 2019: militants killed
As many as 733 terrorists have been killed in J&K in the past three-anda-half years, including 113 this year (till June 16).
In a reply in the Lok Sabha, MoS (home) G Kishan Reddy said while number of terrorists killed in J&K has steadily gone up from 150 in 2016 to 213 in 2017 and 257 in 2018, the number of civilians killed in terror-related incidents rose from 15 in 2015 to 40 in 2017 and slightly dipped to 39 in 2018. Until June 16 this year, 18 civilians were killed in the Valley.
Reddy told the House that the situation in Maoist-hit states had improved over the past five years. Between 2009-2013, when UPA was in power and 2014-2018 under the NDA regime, incidents of Naxal violence fell by 43.4%, civilian deaths by 59.1% and security personnel fatalities by 63.6%. The killing of Maoists, however, went up by 10.5% during this period.
Left-wing extremism-related violence was reported from only 60 districts across 8 states — Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, MP, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana — last year, even though Centre had classified 90 districts as Naxal-affected, offering them financial support. Two-thirds of violent incidents in 2018 were reported from 10 districts.
Reddy said violent incidents in J&K had peaked at 614 in 2018, an 80% rise over 342 incidents reported in 2017.
Fatalities among security personnel totalled 91 last year, up from 80 in 2017. In comparison, there were 222 incidents in J&K in 2014, which killed 28 civilians and 47 security personnel. While the figures fell in 2015, they rose prominently in 2016 on account of cycle of violence triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in July that year. The policy to engage terrorists in intelligence-based encounters in the valley is expected to continue under home minister Amit Shah. Shah will be paying his first visit to the state.
2017, 2018: arrests for stone-pelting
While incidents of stone-pelting in J&K rose marginally to 1,458 in 2018 from 1,412 in 2017, the number of miscreants arrested for the same increased significantly to 3,797 in 2018 from 2,838 in 2017.
In reply to a question in Rajya Sabha last week, minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy said of the 3,797 stone-pelters arrested last year, only 65 went to jail, which was around the same level as 2017 when 63 miscreants had landed in jail.
Another important set of figures put before the Rajya Sabha reveals a rise in component of local terrorists among total terrorists killed in J&K. As many as 146 of the total 257 killed in 2018 were local Kashmiris, as compared to 111 foreign terrorists killed that year. In 2016 and 2017, foreign terrorists killed in encounters with security forces in J&K had outnumbered local terrorists killed. As many as 127 foreign terrorists were killed in 2017 as compared to 86 locals, while the corresponding number in 2016 was 86 and 64 respectively.
The number of central paramilitary personnel killed until May this year has surged to 43 from nine in whole of 2018. As for civilian killings in the Valley state, they stood at 18 till June 16 this year, against 39 in whole of 2018, 40 in 2017 and 15 in 2016. TNN
Incidents of terrorist violence and terrorists killed in Jammu & Kashmir rose by 80% and 21% respectively in 2018 as compared to 2017, even as net cross-border infiltration into the state clocked a 5% increase in the corresponding period, according to the home ministry’s annual report for 2018-19.
Importantly, the report put the infiltration attempts by terrorists into J&K in the first three months of this year at 23, of which seven were successful. This is the quarter during which Indian forces carried out air strikes on terror camps in Balakot. Sources said most infiltration cases related to the period before the air strikes.
As many as 328 crossborder infiltration attempts were reported in J&K in 2018, of which 143 were successful. In 2017, 419 infiltration attempts were reported, though net infiltration was put at 136.
As per data of terrorist violence in J&K in the first quarter of this year, there were 116 incidents, in which 59 security force personnel, nine civilians and 62 terrorists were killed. In 2018, there were 614 incidents (up from 342 in 2017), 91 security personnel were martyred (up from 80), 39 civilians killed (down from 40) and 257 terrorists neutralised (up from 213).
The report said since the advent of militancy in J&K in 1990 until March 31, 2019, 14,024 civilians and 5,273 security force personnel were killed. On security clearances, the report said the ministry had disposed of 5,490 proposals between May 2014 and March 2019.
Regarding Left-wing extremism (LWE), it said “resolute implementation of the national policy and action plan by the government” had led to significant decline in LWE violence as well as the geographical spread of LWE in the last five years. There was an overall 26.7% reduction in violent incidents (1,136 to
833) and 39.5% reduction (397 to 240) in LWE-related deaths since 2013-end.
Chhattisgarh (with 392 incidents and 153 deaths) and Jharkhand (205 incidents and 43 deaths) together accounted for 71.7% of violent incidents and 81.7% of the deaths.
Highlighting the “substantial improvement” in security situation in northeastern states since 2013, the home ministry said 2018 witnessed the lowest insurgency incidents and civilian deaths since 1997.
223 militants killed, highest in 8 years
Civilian Deaths Go Up To 77 From 40 Last Yr
Violence has run high in Jammu & Kashmir this year, with terrorists killed at a eight-year high of 223 while terror-related incidents rose to 429 from 342 last year and civilian casualties shot up to 77 from 40. The number of security personnel killed is 80, the same as 2017.
The figures reflect increased attacks mounted by terrorists from Pakistan with the support of local cadres in the Kashmir Valley even as the Army stepped up security counter-measures and also warned that stone-throwers at encounter sites will be treated as over-ground supporters of terrorists.
According to home ministry data, the figure was higher only in 2010 when 232 terrorists were killed.
The number is likely to rise with more than three weeks to go before the year ends with an encounter in progress near Srinagar even on Saturday. The number of terrorists killed this year has already surpassed the figure of 213 recorded in 2017, according to official statistics accessed by TOI.
Of the 223 terrorists killed, 93 were foreigners. While 81 of the terrorists were killed over a period of 80 days since local body and panchayat elections were announced on September 15 in the state, 51 were killed in the preceding 80 days between June 25 and September 14.
Between September 15 and December 5, two civilians were killed and 170 injured in stone-pelting incidents across the state.
Around 250-300 ultras active in Kashmir
In the same period, preceding September 15, eight civilians were killed and 216 injured due to stone-pelting. A large percentage of these stone-pelting incidents were reported from sites of encounters between the security forces and terrorists.
Home ministry sources said apart from having neutralised a record number of terrorists since June 19 when the state was placed under governor’s rule as compared to the preceding period under the PDP-BJP government this year, many top terrorist commanders were accounted for by security forces. These include top Lashkar commander Naveed Jatt, Jaish sniper Usman Haider, who was the nephew of Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar, and Hizbul Mujahideen commander Altaf Ahmad Dar.
Apart from higher civilian deaths this year, almost double that of 2017, what is of concern to the security establishment is the rise in recruitment of local Kashmiris by Hizbul Mujahideen and Pakistan-based terror outfits. “However, a fall in recruitment levels has been witnessed in the recent months,” said an intelligence official. The number of terrorists active in the Valley is estimated to be 250-300.
Explaining the higher number of terror-related incidents this year, a senior officer of the central security establishment said it was essentially because terrorists were being more active this year. There were clear attempts by Pakistan-aided terrorists to disrupt urban local bodies and panchayat polls in the state, with separatists too pitching in with boycott calls and frequent bandhs.
Sources said attempts to use violence to sabotage local polls were effectively thwarted with adequate deployment of security forces and keeping terrorists engaged in intelligence-based counter-operations through the process of civic and panchayat elections in the state.
2018: street violence down, encounters increase
Incidents of rioting on the streets came down four times but rioters being killed while attempting to disrupt encounters in cordonedoff areas rose six-fold in the last three years in Kashmir.
Data accessed exclusively by TOI shows that since 2016, when the Valley slid into unprecedented street violence following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani by security forces, the incidents of rioting and stone-pelting dropped from around 3,000 per year to 700.
On an average, there have been two rioting incidents a day this year. The number of rioters killed in clashes with security forces also declined by nearly half this year since 2016.
However, rioting during counter-insurgency operations — stone-pelting and illegally entering cordonedoff combat zones — has become almost routine in the last three years. Casualties of rioters during such encounters went up by six times, from 6 in 2016 to 37 in 2018.
The number of those killed while trying to disrupt encounters has risen six fold, from 6 in 2016 to 37 in 2018
‘Rioters disrupting ops a strategy devised by Pak’
The disruptions have turned out to be such a challenge for security forces that Army chief General Bipin Rawat sent a warning to rioters in October. Stone pelters disrupting operations, he said, would be treated as overground militant workers, if they did not stop entering combat zones.
“His statement stirred a controversy because besides separatists, mainstream political parties in Kashmir — National Conference and People’s Democratic Party once out of power — portray the rioting stone pelters as ‘innocent civilians’,” a senior counter-insurgency specialist in J&K police said.
Security analysts in the Army and J&K Police say though the phenomenon of rioters disrupting operations began at least six years ago, it intensified after Wani’s killing in 2016.
“The trend is a wellthought out strategy devised by Pakistan. It is cost-effective sub-conventional warfare because terror groups get to use their sympathisers as human shields; the rioters get branded as innocent civilians and Indian soldiers as murderers; all of this evokes outrage, more youth come out to riot and clash with forces during the encounters and more get killed in an unending loop,” an officer in the northern command said.
A 25-year-old former stone pelter in Kulgam, who did not want to be named, told TOI there was social sanction for stone pelting during encounters. “Infuriated youth believe it’s their religious duty to protect the ujahideen who are out there to fight for them,” he said.
The J&K police arrested four times more militants and Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of banned outfits than the number of terrorists they killed in the Valley last year.
The militancy data accessed exclusively by TOI shows that though the number of militants killed last year, over 240, was the highest since 2007, the number of militants and their aides arrested in 2018, is the highest in a decade. Over 800 militants and OGWs were arrested last year, the data reveals.
An OGW, in the security parlance, “is an aide of terrorists, who wilfully helps them in providing shelter, place to store arms and ammunition, food, medication and even funds and facilitates their movement,” an Army officer told TOI.
OGWs are essentially “local civilians” but they form the backbone of militancy in Kashmir, said a police officer who was not authorised to speak officially. “Without OGWs and their logistic support, militancy cannot survive for long,” he said.
In 2014, almost as many militants and OGWs were arrested as killed by the security forces. However, in the following years, especially after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, lesser number of militants and OGWs were arrested as compared to the number of militants killed. That trend changed in 2018, when the number of militancy related arrests went up eight times from the previous year.
After several years of steady decline, the militant recruitment in Kashmir witnessed a sudden upsurge following the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging in 2013, leading to the new phase of militancy.
Contrary to the common belief that the 2010s militancy has been more indigenous than foreign, the data shows that except 2018, more foreign terrorists (which includes unidentified militants) have been killed than Kashmiri militants in the last decade.
After the Dec 2016 demonetisation
Three Banks Robbed, Five Cops And Two Guards Killed In Last 72 Hours
Terrorists looted Rs 3 lakh from a branch of J&K Bank at Kakapora in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, less than two hours after four masked men carrying guns robbed Rs 5 lakh from Ellaquai Dehati Bank in Wahibugh village of the district.
Unidentified gunmen had barged into the Yaripora branch of the same bank and taken away Rs 65,000, and on May 1, terrorists had attacked a cash van of J&K Bank and shot dead five policemen and two bank guards in Kulgam district in south Kashmir.
There have been several successful attempts at robbing banks in the Valley since November 8 when demoneti sation was announced, suggesting that the terrorists are strapped of cash. The hawala trade is at standstill even as a series of moves by the Centre have dried up militants' financial resources. Short of money to buy weapons and pay their over-ground workers, the Hizbul and Lashkar terrorists are striking out at banks, which are also symbols of establishment.
Sources said attacks on banks may also force deployment of Central forces and state police for their security.“This means forces will be diverted to protect the nearly 1,500 bank branches across the Valley , leaving fewer personnel for the counter-terror grid,“ said an officer.
Central security establishment believes these attacks on banks could be a double-edged sword. Sources said since demonetisation was announced, most of the local populace have started keeping their money in banks. By creating a scare, the terrorists may be trying to force the people to once again keep their money at home, and help them access it when needed -as was the case always. There also seems a degree of public support to militants in the four southern districts on the prowl, looting banks and snatching weapons from J&K cops, with police saying they are investigating the driver of the van that was attacked on May 1, who has disappeared since then.
Security agencies said that local militants, who've mostly joined Hizbul Mujahideen, have no weapons and arms training. They depend mostly on snatched weapons from J&K police. Weapon snatching from cops has become routine in all four districts of south Kashmir.
Support to militants in these southern districts, Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam, has increased since the encounter killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani in June 2016.
Human rights violations
1994-2017: 66 of 1,695 allegations were true
The Army claims only 66 of 1,695 allegations of human rights violations levelled against it since 1994 had been found to be true following investigation, with another 41 still being probed. For the established violations, around 150 personnel have been punished, and compensation has been awarded in 49 cases, the Army added.
A senior officer stressed on Monday that the Indian Army's human rights record “is one of the best in the world, which is appreciated globally“. The Army's claim comes against a backdrop of criticism for the force over the “human shield“ episode, which saw Major Leetul Gogoi controversially truss up a civilian on his jeep's bonnet to rescue over a dozen security and election personnel from a stonepelting mob in Kashmir last month. The officer said the Army had received 1,736 allegations, primarily during counter-insurgency operations in J&K and the northeast, from 1994 to April 2017. “Of them, 1,695 cases have been probed, while 41 are under investigation. Of the cases investigated, 1,629 were found to be either false or baseless,“ he added.
General Bipin Rawat's move to award the chief of army staff (COAS) commendation card to Major Gogoi even before the court of inquiry into the incident could be finalised, virtually giving him a clean chit, has fuelled criticism over the manner in which the force has handled the “human shield“ episode.
The Army chief, however, has made it clear he awarded the COAS commendation card to Major Gogoi to boost the morale of all the young officers and jawans engaged in counter-terrorism operations in a “dirty , proxy war“ amid stone-pelting mobs in the Valley.
Infiltration and recruitment of militants
See 'Infiltration during 2013-March 2016 in Jammu and Kashmir'
2016: Jihadi recruitment saw 55% jump
As many as 88 youths joined militancy in Jammu & Kashmir in 2016, the highest since 2010, the government told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday . Violent protests in the Valley had peaked last year in the wake of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on July 8. Over 2,100 incidents were reported over a short span of three months from July to September 2016.
The figure of 88 Kashmiri youth opting for militancy last year marks a departure from the falling trend witnessed since 2014. In fact, the recruitment by terrorist groups in J&K last year was 55% higher than the levels witnessed in 2010, when stone-pelting protests caused a long spell of unrest in the Valley. In a written reply to a starred question in the Lok Sabha, Union minister of state for home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said that as compared to 88 youth who joined militancy last year, a much lesser 66 chose the path of violence in 2015, 53 in 2014, just 16 in 2013, 21 in 2012, 23 in 2011and 54 in 2010.
Ahir said the J&K government was trying to wean away the state's youth from militancy with greater police-public engagement, sports tournaments and cultural events. Also, the government is offering attractive incentives to surren dered militants, apart from opening up avenues for employment of local youth through programmes such as `Udaan' and `Himayat', he said.
A key reason for J&K youth gravitating towards militancy , according to an intelligence officer, may be the local sentiment generated by the killing of Wani. TheHizb commander's Facebook posts were very popular among young and impressionable Kashmiris. His neutralisation in Anantnag on July 8 spurred a cycle of violence, with protests only getting worse after the counter-action by the forces saw many agitators, particularly minors, killed and injured by pellet guns.
As per data furnished on Tuesday in reply to another question in the Lok Sabha, 820 `law and order' incidents were reported in July 2016, the month Wani was killed, followed by 747 and 535 incidents in August and September, respectively. Interestingly, 2016 also saw a sharp increase in infiltration from Pakistan, with 371 attempts against 121in 2015, 222 in 2014, 277 in 2013, 264 in 2012 and 247 in 2011. Last year also saw the maximum number of successful attempts at 119.
2018: highest in 5 years/ MHA
Pakistan-based terrorist groups made 328 bids to sneak into Jammu & Kashmir from across the border in 2018 and were successful in 143 of these attempts, the highest in the last five years, according to the home ministry’s annual report.
The report of the ministry for 2018-19 made available on Friday said 257 terrorists and 91 security personnel were killed in J&K last year, the highest number of casualties in the state in the last five years.
Thirty-nine civilians were also killed during this period, it said. In 2017, there were 419 cross-border infiltration attempts, of which 136 were successful. In 2016, there were 371 infiltration attempts, of which 119 were successful, it said.
“The ongoing military in J&K is intrinsically linked with infiltration from across the border both from the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir,” it said.
A total of 257 terrorists, 91 security personnel and 39 civilians were killed in 614 terror incidents in J&K in 2018, as per the report.
The casualties of both security personnel and the terrorists and the number of terror incidents in 2018 were highest in the last five years in J&K, it said.
In 2017, 213 terrorists, 80 security personnel and 40 civilians were killed in 342 terror incidents in the state, the report said. In 2016, a total of 150 terrorists, 82 security personnel and 15 civilians were killed in 322 terror incidents, while in 2015, 108 terrorists, 39 security personnel and 17 civilians were killed in 208 terror incidents, it said. PTI
Feb- July 2019, infiltration reduced by 43%
Security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed an improvement and the net infiltration from across the border has reduced by 43 per cent after a surgical strike was carried out on terror camps in Pakistan, Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai said in Lok Sabha.
Rai's remarks came in response to a written question on whether cross-border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir has abated after the Air Force carried out surgical strike on terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan in February this year.
"Due to concerted and synergised efforts of security forces, the security situation in the state has witnessed an improvement in the first half of this year over the corresponding period of 2018. Net infiltration has reduced by 43 per cent," he said.
The minister said the Central government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards cross-border infiltration.
Rai said the government of India in tandem with the state government has adopted a multi-pronged approach to contain cross-border infiltration, which include multi-tiered deployment along the International Border and the Line of Control (LoC), border fencing, improved intelligence and operational coordination, equipping security forces with improved technological weapons and taking pro-active action against infiltrators.
Replying another question, the minister said the electric fence namely the Anti Infiltration Obstacle System (AIOS) on LoC along India-Pak border has proved to be a potent tool to guard against infiltration.
The electricity requirements for the AIOS are being catered through power grid wherever available and through generators at other locations to ensure uninterrupted power supply, he said.
2002-2016: major incidents
Major terrorist/ Pakistani attacks in Jammu province, 2002-2016
The Saturday attack referred to in the picture took place on the Sunjuwan Military Station(shown) on 10 and 11 Feb 2018. 5 soldiers and a civilian were martyred and 3 JeM terrorists were killed.
The Sunjuwan Military Station had been attacked in 2013 as well.
Pakistan-based terrorists seek Kashmiri wives: 1
Just like Abu Dujana's plans for a latenight rendezvous with wife gave the LeT commander away , leading to his elimination, there are several cases of foreign terrorists exposing themselves to surveillance on account of affairs and sexual misadventures with local Kashmiri girls.
“Most foreign terrorists of Lashkar-e-Toiba come from low-level families in Pakistan's Punjab. They are often tempted to court the attractive Kashmiri girls from welloff families. Wielding power of the gun and riding on their nuisance value, they either manage to impress local girls or force them to reciprocate to their advances,“ said an officer of J&K police. Of course, the affairs are fraught with serious security risks. “Their movements are compromised due to their frequent visits to meet their love interests or sexual partners. The police are in a far better position to generate human intelligence regarding their presence or movements,“ the officer said. There have been several cases of top commanders of Pakistan-based terrorist outfits like LeT coming under the radar either due to an identified pattern of movements in a locality where their love interests reside or even a tendency among dumped girlfriends and wives to get even by blowing their cover and alerting security agencies. An LeT commander in Srinagar, Abu Talha, was killed in 1999 after the father of one of the girls he had taken a fancy to tipped off the SOG and Intelligence Bureau.
LeT commander in Sopore, Abdullah Uni, who was killed in 2012 was known to have four to five girlfriends.He was a terror in Sopore and a difficult catch for the forces. But his affairs put him on the radar of the intelligence agencies, which closely followed his meetings with his girlfriends. “Finally, on the basis of a tipoff from one of his girlfriends, he was cornered and killed,“ said a former J&K police officer.
Pakistan-based terrorists seek Kashmiri wives: 2
Kashmir has witnessed a growing trend of Pakistan-based terrorists seeking Kashmiri wives for themselves, and as many as two dozen Pakistan-based LeT militants have courted women in villages in J&K as their “sympathisers“. But these women, after marriage, change their fathers' names while admitting their kids into schools and colleges, said sources. This fact was brought to fore when the mastermind of the 2005 attack on Indian Institute of Science In Bangalore and LeT operational commander Abu Hamza had married a woman in Sopore. “Neither the woman nor the kid is traceable now,“ said an intelligence officer. Dujana had developed a controversial reputation because of his illicit relations with Kashmiri women, said Kashmir IG Munir Khan. “He had become an eyesore for girls in that area. He could enter any home and engage in an unlawful relation. He had become a repeat offender of a sort,“ said Khan.
Hizb, JeM used children during clashes
Pakistan-based banned terror outfits used children during clashes with security forces in J&K, a UN report said.
"One case was attributed to Jaish-e-Mohammed and two to Hizbul Mujahideen," the report said.
Pakistan-based banned terror outfits Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen recruited and used children in Jammu and Kashmir during clashes with security forces last year, according to a UN report on Thursday.
The annual report of the UN Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict, covering the January-December 2017 period, said globally, over 10,000 children were killed or maimed in conflict + last year while more than 8,000 were recruited or used as combatants.
The report covers 20 countries, including war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen and also the situation in India, the Philippines and Nigeria.
On the situation in India, the report of UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, said children continued to be affected by incidents of violence between armed groups and the government forces, particularly in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and during tensions in Jammu and Kashmir.
Noting "grave violations", it said three incidents of recruitment and use of children by the two terror outfits were reported in Jammu and Kashmir during clashes with the security forces.
"One case was attributed to Jaish-e-Mohammed and two to Hizbul Mujahideen," the report said, adding that "unverified" reports also indicate use of children as informants and spies by the security forces.
The UN said it continued to receive reports of recruitment and use of children, including by the Naxalites, particularly in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. "Naxalites reportedly resorted to the use of a lottery system to conscript children in Jharkhand," it said, adding children continued to be killed and injured during operations of security forces against armed groups.
Citing government data, the report said 188 civilians were killed in Naxal-affected regions, but no disaggregated data on children were available.
In March this year, a 15-year-old boy was killed during clash between the security forces and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in Padgampora village of Pulwama district.
Guterres asked the Indian government to put in place measures to hold perpetrators of child recruitment and use to account and engage with the UN to end and prevent violations against children.
In Jharkhand, the report said, suspected Naxalites attacked a school in Khunti district, partially destroying it. With regard to military use, the occupation of over 20 schools was documented by the Central Reserve Police Force in Srinagar, Kashmir, in April.
"Increased tensions in Jammu and Kashmir reportedly also led to closure of school for varying periods, including in Rajouri (65) and Poonch (76) districts," it said.
In Pakistan, the report said, the UN continued to receive reports of the recruitment and use of children, including from madrassas, also, the alleged use of children by armed groups for suicide attacks.
In January, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan released a video showing children, including girls, being instructed how to perpetrate suicide attacks.
The report said while age-disaggregated data on civilian casualties were limited, incidents of children killed and injured in attacks in Pakistan by armed groups were reported.
It cited a suicide attack in Sehwan, Sindh Province in February in which at least 75 people, including 20 children, were killed. Also eight attacks on educational facilities and students, including four targeting girls' schools.
In March, unidentified people vandalised the Oxford Public School, located in Ghizer Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan, and threatened to bomb the school if female teachers did not cover themselves. Also, a girls' school located in Qila Abdullah in Balochistan Province was damaged in an IED attack.
Guterres said he is "concerned" by the continued attacks on schools by armed groups, particularly the targeting of girls' education. He called on the Pakistan government to prioritise measures to deter future attacks on schools.
In Afghanistan, there were 3,179 verified cases of children being killed and maimed in 2017 in the conflict-related violence. An increase in child casualties resulting from aerial operations remained a concerning trend, with 27 child casualties resulting from cross-border shelling out of Pakistan.
With reports of over 21,000 violations committed against children in 2017, Guterres expressed outrage over the rise in the number of children affected by fighting globally.
"Boys and girls have once again been overly impacted by protracted and new violent crisis. Despite some progress, the level of violations remains unacceptable," he said in a statement.
The UN Chief reiterated that the best way to address this horrific situation is to promote peaceful solutions to conflicts and called on all parties to exert maximum efforts in this regard.
Pakistani terrorists vis-à-vis local militants
2017, Jan-Nov: 72% of ultras killed were from Pakistan
Terror outfits in Kashmir have suffered a major jolt this year with at least 190 terrorists, including 110 Pakistanis, killed by security forces. Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, General Officer-in-Command (GOC) of 15 corps, Lt Gen J S Sandhu, said the Army has successfully foiled multiple infiltration bids from across the Line of Control (LoC).
“Out of the 110 foreign terrorists, 66 were killed near the LoC when they were trying to infiltrate into India. We have also eliminated 125-130 terrorists in Kashmir hinterland, providing a major boost to the security forces,” the GOC said. He attributed joint operations by the Army, CRPF and Special Operations Group (SOG) in bringing about a “remarkable change in the security situation in strife-torn Kashmir valley.”
Security forces had launched a similar joint operation, during which they eliminated six top commanders of the Lashkare-Taiba (LeT), including Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi’s nephew. All of them were from Pakistan.
The GOC said the administration has given a chance to local militants to shun violence and join the mainstream, but foreign terrorists are generally killed in counter-insurgency operations.
2018: violence increases
The Centre’s unilateral ceasefire against terrorists during the holy month of Ramzan has no desired impact as terror-related violence continued unabated and showed an upward trend in the last 20 days.
The data shows an upward trend in the killing of civilians and security men compared to last year during the same period. In the last 20 days, militants killed more than three dozen people including cops and security forces’ men and threw over 18 hand grenades at various places across Srinagar and in parts of south Kashmir, leaving more than two dozen persons and security men injured, according to official figures. At least 143 people including 37 civilians, 71 militants and 31 security personnel were killed since January this year. Out of 143, over three dozen people were killed only during Ramzan ceasefire. Around 40 odd Kashmiri youth joined militant ranks in the name of Jihad, an official source said.
Besides terror attacks at various places and ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and international border by Pakistani troops, stone pelting on the forces including police remains rampant particularly in old Srinagar city. A young stone-pelter Kaisar Bhat was run over by a CRPF vehicle while it was trying to escape an attack by a frenzied mob attack in Nowhatta.
Last year after surge in terrorism in the first part of 2017, security forces had launched an offensive and revived Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs) in the Valley after 15 years, against militants in the Valley. But chief minister Mehbooba Mufti took the state’s opposition parties on board and urged the centre to announce ceasefire during Ramzan and Amarnath yatra.
“Indoctrination in favour of Pakistan and jihad is so powerful among the separatist youth in Kashmir that the Ramzan ceasefire had no real effect in bringing peace. The offensive of the terror groups is forcing security forces to retaliate,” a police officer said.
By halting combat operations against terrorists, security forces are providing them breathing space in south Kashmir, a security expert said. “They are re-grouping and consolidating their position with people’s active support.”
However, Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid is still hopeful that the Centre’s unilateral ceasefire would have a positive impact.
‘Only 13 joined ultras after truce, 2 returned’
Officials: Halt In Ops Reduced Casualties Too
Around 13 Kashmiri youth joined militancy after announcement of the Ramzan truce as compared to 71 in the pre-May 15 period, though even this figure has got effectively reduced to 11 after two recruits returned to their respective families, sources in the security establishment told TOIon Monday.
Sources said that of the 13 who joined militancy during the suspension of operations in Jammu & Kashmir, only one got recruited into indigenous outfit Hizbul Mujahideen. While four joined Al-Badr that has lately been showing signs of revival in J&K, the rest have allied themselves with either Jaish-e Mohammad or Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Though violent incidents continue during Ramzan, albeit on a lower scale, the halt in cordon-andsearch operations has seen a significant decline in killings of civilians and security forces as well as mob attacks involving stone-pelting. Only three civilians and security personnel each were killed since May 17 and the fewer casualties are being seen as an indicator of success of the truce.
A notable trend this Ramzan has been a spike in grenade attacks. A source pointed out that most of the grenades appear to have been thrown by local, untrained youth at the behest of elements keen on sabotaging the truce.
While stone pelting incidents were reported after start of Ramzan, only two involved major mob attacks. Unrest in both cases was led by ‘outsiders’ who had gathered at Jamia mosque, and not local residents.
A heartening development during the ceasefire has been reduced recruitment of locals into militancy.
Recruitment of youths by militants
2007-18: Anti-terror ops not proportional to militant recruitment
2007 Saw Most Ops But Only 25 Enrollees
Contrary to the common belief, militants killed by security forces and recruitment of local youth in militancy are not consistently and directly proportional, as per the Jammu & Kashmir security data of the last 10 years accessed exclusively by TOI.
In the last 10 years, the data shows that the highest number of counter-insurgency operations (205) were conducted in 2007 under the Ghulam Nabi Azad led coalition government of Congress and PDP. Over 330 terrorists were killed and over 530 terrorists and over ground workers were arrested. The terror attacks on civilians, security forces and others incidentally, were also the highest in 2007.
Since many tend to think that anti-terror operations are directly proportional to recruitment of local militants in Kashmir, one would assume that years 2007 and 2008 would have provoked more youth to join militancy. However, as per the data, in 2007, just 25 youth took up arms in Kashmir.
Even in the following years, 2008 and 2009, when the Kashmir valley erupted with organised stone-pelting and street violence, first during the Amarnath land crisis and then over the death of two Shopian women due to drowning, the recruitment was abysmally low. Only six and eight youth joined militancy in 2008 and 2009, respectively. In 2010, when over 100 youth were killed in clashes with security forces and 163 militants were killed in combat operations, only 24 youth joined militancy.
The recruitment shows some correlation with counter-insurgency operations (CIOs) or militants killed, only beginning 2014 when the Narendra Modi government came to power in New Delhi.
“Though there is a correlation from 2014, it does not explain why recruitment did not rise when both counterinsurgency operations and the number of militants killed were highest in 2007. The problem is that people believe correlation and causation are the same. In Kashmir, statistics do not even show consistent correlation, let alone tell you anything about the causation,” said a data analyst of the CID.
In the last five years, there has been a gradual increase in the number of counter-insurgency operations but the numbers still do not exceed the operations conducted in 2007 or 2008. “So I am not sure why politicians keep saying that India has adopted a muscular approach in Kashmir in the last four years. Our security policy has been consistent,” an Army officer said.
A police officer involved in combat operations said that if at all there was a change, it surely has been to minimise collateral damage. “Over the years, our records of collateral have come down drastically and there are almost no extra-judicial killings and fake encounters now,” he claimed.
The only thing that’s clear from the decade-long data is that 2011 and 2012 were relatively calmer after the massive street violence of 2008, 2009 and 2010. Both terror attacks and street violence (stone-pelting and mob rioting) as well as combat operations were at an all-time low for those two years, in the last decade. “Everything went downhill after the hanging of the Parliament terror attack convict Afzal Guru in 2013. Suddenly, the street violence went up by five times and recruitment of local youth in militancy doubled the next year,” a security expert in Srinagar said.
A National Conference leader who was at helm of affairs at time and did not want to be named said: “We had warned New Delhi at the time that Guru’s hanging would open floodgates of new militancy and street violence in Kashmir. But the then Union home minister P Chidambaram rejected Guru’s mercy petition and recommended death penalty for him to the President of India. Burhan Wani and his successors are a product of that decision.”
Seventy young men have joined the militancy in Jammu & Kashmir over the past seven months, with most recruits from three south Kashmir districts, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam, according to a senior security official. The three districts have emerged as the hub of homegrown tech-savvy militants.
The senior security officer, quoting official statistics, also claimed that 88 Kashmiri youths had joined the militancy in 2016.
Since 2014, there has been a constant rise in the number of people joining the militancy. As many as 66 youths joined in 2015 and 53 in 2014, according to data compiled by security agencies.
In 2010, 54 youths joined the militancy , while in 2011, the number came down to 23. It further dipped to 21 in 2012 and 16 in 2013, according to the data.
Security officials say Pulwama, which has of late emerged as a terror epicentre, is strategically important as it is the central point to connect Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Budgam districts of central Kashmir.
“The areas have seen the highest number of encounters and attacks,“ the officer added. The topography of Pulwama, with its vast orchards and fields ringed by dense forests, also provide operating cover to militants.
Pulwama was home to Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in July last year. It was also the base of slain Lashkar man Abu Dujana.
January-August 2017: 71 recruits
The number of terror recruits in J&K in 2017, going by intelligence records, is around 71
As many as 132 terrorists have died in security operations so far this year
Though more youth joined terror groups over the past 3-4 months, deaths of terrorists exceed recruitment levels
NEW DELHI: A sustained crackdown on militancy in J&K, aided by strong ground intelligence, has seen the killings of terrorists outstrip recruitment by terror groups this year, with ranks of separatists increasingly dependent on infiltration of "foreign" operatives into the state.
The infiltration from PoK and Pakistan is slightly higher with 78 terrorists sneaking into J&K till July against 123 in entire 2016 but intelligence agencies say, given the current trend, it is a matter of time before the total number of active terrorists in the Valley sees a decline.
The number of terror recruits in J&K this year, going by intelligence records, is around 71, while as many as 132 terrorists have died in security operations. Of the 132 terrorists killed as a result of intelligence-based operations this year, 74 were foreign nationals and 58 locals. As many as 14 were top commanders of LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen or Al-Badr. These included two in the "A++ category, four in A+ category and eight in A category"".
Sources said cooperation between central and state agencies is paying off. J&K police, CRPF and Army have jointly accounted for top Hizbul Mujahideen leaders even before they could settle down to their roles as one succeeded the other. After Burhan Wani, who assumed charge of the outfit in 2014, was eliminated in an encounter on July 8, 2016, the counter-terror forces have been hot on his successor Zakir Musa's trail. Musa, however, parted ways with Hizbul and floated own outfit Ghazwat-ul-Hind in May 2019. Sabzar Ahmed Bhat, who took over after Musa, was killed within a week.
His successor Yasin Itoo did not last long and was killed on August 13, barely two-and-ahalf months after taking over.
Though more youth joined terror groups in the Valley over the past 3-4 months, deaths of terrorists exceed recruitment levels. Fatalities among terrorists surged from an average 9.5 killings a month till April to 18 in May, 30 in June and 25 in July.
Spurt in Kashmiris joining militancy
The No., which was 88 in 2016, has already reached 117 by the end of Nov.
S Kashmir is one of the main hubs which provides cadres to militant groups such as Hizb and LeT.
12 youths from Anantnag, 45 from Pulwama and Awantipora, 24 from Shopian and 10 from Kulgam have joined militancy in 2017.
There has been a sharp spike in the number of young Kashmiris joining militant groups in 2017, with the number crossing 100 for the first time since such data started being collated in 2010, officials said.
The figure, which stood at 88 in 2016, has already reached 117 by the end of November this year with south Kashmir emerging as one of the main hubs which provides cadres to militant groups such as Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker-e- Taiba, reports of security agencies said.
According to the reports, the number of local youths who joined various militant groups this year include 12 from Anantnag, 45 from Pulwama and Awantipora, 24 from Shopian and 10 from Kulgam. The figures for North Kashmir are — four youths joined militant groups from Kupwara, six from Baramulla and Sopore, and seven from Bandipore, according to the reports.
From central Kashmir, Srinagar district accounted for disappearance of five youths while Budgam for four.
The reports are based on technical and human intelligence besides interrogation reports of militants arrested during various counter-insurgency operations in the Valley.
The reports have put the number of those joining the militants this year as high as 117, but Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid contends that the numbers are much lesser.
However, a senior security officer said the figures of the police only take into account the cases registered in the police stations whereas the actual figures are always on the higher side as many parents do not report the matter to the law enforcing agencies due to fear.
Comparing the figures with previous years, 2017 has emerged as the year of highest recruitment of youth in various militant groups in last seven years. Such data is available from 2010.
According to the data laid on the floor of Parliament in March this year, there has been a steady increase in the number of youth taking up arms in the Valley from 2014 onwards as compared to 2011, 2012, and 2013.
In 2010, 54 youths joined militancy while in 2011, the number came down to 23 and further dipped to 21 in 2012 and 16 in 2013.
In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and in 2015, it reached 66 before touching the highest mark of 88 in 2016, the data showed.
The spurt in locals joining militancy began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terror group's poster boy Burhan Wani in an encounter in south Kashmir on July 8 last year.
Security officials feel that there is a difference between the present day militants compared to those of early 1990s. The ideological conviction of the present lot of militants is far more superior than that of the terror groups during the early days.
The worrying trend in the Valley is that it is witnessing a trend of 'Pan-Islamisation' where young boys are opting for the path of terrorism knowing fully well that they are at the risk of being killed, the officials said.
Militants infiltrating from Pakistan are equally distributed among the various local militant groups who make them aware of the topography and escape routes besides providing them the mobile numbers of overground workers in the region.
While a majority of the missing boys mainly belong to the average middle class and described as the new face of terrorism in Kashmir, militants like Owais Ahmed Shah from Kokernag in south Kashmir and Eisa Fazli hailing from Soura in Srinagar show a trend that literate students from well-to-do families are also picking up arms with conviction.
Both Shah and Fazli were extremely brilliant in their studies, an official said, adding that if such people were also brainwashed, then there is a need to revisit the drawing board and examine policies of the state government at the earliest.
2015> 16> 17: Number of youths becoming militants on the rise
At least 280 youths joined terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir in the last three years, the state government said. The number of youth joining terrorism has been on a steady rise in J&K since 2015. At least 66 Kashmiri youths took up arms in 2015, and the number rose to 88 in 2016. And at least 126 youths joined terrorist ranks in 2017.
In a written reply to a query by National Conference legislator Ali Mohammad Sagar, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti stated that a total of 2694 people are currently in jail in the valley. Among them, 228 men and eight women have been convicted, while the rests are facing trial.
The CM said while some separatists, including two women, have been detained under the Public Safety Act, no person affiliated to any political party is under preventive detention now.
Sources said the spurt in locals joining terrorism began after the encounter of Hizbul Mujahideen’s Burhan Wani in south Kashmir on July 8, 2016.
Security forces’ camps, convoys: attacks on
One Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan was killed by suicide squad terrorists, or fidayeen, after their bid to attack a CRPF camp in Srinagar’s Karan Nagar area was foiled by an alert sentry on Monday morning.
Pakistani terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba has claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes just two days after the attack at the Sunjuwan military station in which six people — including five Army personnel — were killed.
Upon noticing two armed terrorists trying to sneak into the 23-Battalion camp around 4.30am, CRPF sentry Raghunath Ghait opened fire, forcing the terrorists to hide in a nearby under-construction building. Forces immediately cordoned off the area and launched an operation to kill the holed-up terrorists. In the ensuing gunfight, CRPF jawan Mujahid Khan got injured and later succumbed, CRPF inspector general Ravideep Sahi said. Khan belonged to Bihar.
Sources said the CRPF camp is located close to SMHS Hospital, where two police personnel were killed in a terror attack on February 6. Exchange of fire was on till last reports came in.
2016-July 2017: use of pellet guns
The restrained use of pellet guns this year to tackle violent mobs in Jammu & Kashmir has resulted in a sharp dip in deaths and injuries caused by this controversial method of crowd control. In the 143 instances of pellet guns used across 12 districts of J&K till July 31 this year, one civilian was killed and 36 civilians injured.
In 2016, the use of pellet guns in a total 777 instances across J&K, mostly during protests that followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8, had killed 15 civilians and left 396 injured.
District-wise, Srinagar continued to report the highest pellet gun use, having recorded 68 incidents till July 31 this year against 191 in whole of last year. Budgam, which recorded 18 incidents last year in which six civilians were injured, witnessed 12 incidents till July 31, 2017, that left 18 civilians injured (the highest among districts). Sopore, Baramulla and Shopian, which witnessed 124, 102 and 90 pellet firing incidents in 2016, recorded just one, eight and nil incidents respectively in the first seven months of this year. In terms of casualties too, Sopore where two persons were killed and 111injured due to pellet firing last year, reported no casualties this year.In Awantipora, where 89 were injured last year, just one person was injured this year.
The outrage against pellet guns last year in wake of the serious injuries caused by them, particularly in the eye, had led the government to advise restraint on their use. Also, home minister Rajnath Singh -who is scheduled to visit J&K later this week set up an expert committee to suggest safer crowd-control alternatives.However, the committee did not suggest a complete ban on use of pellet guns. As a result, neither has the home ministry banned use of pellet guns nor has the Supreme Court stayed use of these guns.
“We continue to use pellet guns but only as part of a graded response to mob violence.The stress is on first trying out other less-lethal methods -which include warning the agitated mob followed by use of tear smoke, lathicharge, use of irritant-based PAVA shells and firing of plastic bullets. The idea is to use pellet guns as a last resort. Also, we are now using deflectors on pellet guns to ensure that the pellets hit the target below the waist, minimising injury ,“ said a senior CRPF officer.
According to the officer, the sharp fall in instances of pellet guns use this year and the minimal casualties caused by them shows that the graded approach to tackling violent mobs in Kashmir is working.“In any case, pellet guns are not exclusively used in J&K. They were used recently in Rohtak, Haryana, to tackle violent mobs after conviction of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim,“ he said.
2017: dropped by 90%
State police chief credits it to a huge change in the people’s mood, better Army-police coordination
Jammu and Kashmir Police chief S.P. Vaid has said that there has been a 90% dip in incidents of stone-pelting in Kashmir valley this year as compared to last year and credited the people for the improvement in the situation.
“(There is) a more than 90% fall in stone-pelting in Kashmir valley (this year) as compared to last year. It is a huge decrease,” the Director General of Police said.
Far cry from 2016
“There are weeks when there is not even a single case of stone-pelting while in a day (last year) there used to be more than 50 incidents taking place. There is a huge change in the mood of people,” he said. “It is a huge change. The law and order situation in Kashmir is for everybody to see, particularly those living in Kashmir or those dealing with it,” he added.
The DGP said while National Investigation Agency raids helped, there were multiple factors at play, including demonetisation and action against top militant commanders, that have resulted in a drop in stone-pelting incidents. “Of course, that (NIA raids) helped, but the main credit goes to the people of Kashmir. Probably they have also realised the futility of this and damaging their own property and targeting the police, which also belongs to their own society,” he said.
Apart from these, detentions under the Public Safety Act also helped, he said. “I will also give credit to the resumption of political activity,” he added.
The police chief said there has been a tremendous success as far as “Operation All-Out”, the Army’s master plan to flush out militants from Kashmir, is concerned. “The credit goes to officers and jawans who are working in the fields. There is very good coordination among the police, Army and other security agencies,” he said.
“Most of the top leadership of HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) and LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) has been neutralised. I think roughly 170 militants have been eliminated this year. It is a huge, huge success,” the DGP said.
Dip from 2,808 in 2016 to 1,261 in 2017
Dip To 1,261 In 2017 From 2,808 In 2016
Stone-pelting incidents in J&K declined to 1,261 last year from 2,808 in 2016, junior home minister Hansraj Ahir informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The unusually high cases of stone-pelting incidents in 2016 were largely on account of violent protests that broke out after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter in July of that year. The total stonepelting incidents recorded in 2015 were 730.
Ahir, in written reply to another question in the Rajya Sabha, said 13 protesters were killed in 2016 due to pellets fired at them, while there were four fatalities from pellets last year. All the 13 killings in 2016 pertained to the four months of unrest following Wani’s killing.
Ahir said the central government had constituted an expert committee in July 2016 to explore possible alternatives to pellet guns as non-lethal weapons. The recommendations of the committee were taken into account by the government for appropriate implementation and accordingly, various measures, including the use of PAVA-Chilli (shells and grenades) and STUN-LAC (shells and grenades).
2018: 759 cases
The Union home ministry on Wednesday said 759 cases had been registered by the J&K Police against stone-pelters in the current year, which also saw a 78% rise in terror-related incidents in the Valley state to 587 until December 2 from 329 in the corresponding period of 2017.
Junior home minister Hansraj Ahir, in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, also said 238 terrorists were neutralised till December 2 this year. According to sources this figure has since surpassed the last highest level of 239 terrorists killed in 2009.
2019/ Aug 5-22 (after Art 370 amendment)
Of the nearly 250 stone-pelting incidents in the Valley between August 5 and 22, around 220 were reported from Srinagar alone. In contrast, Pulwama, the hub of terror activity in recent years, recorded just six stone-pelting protests in the 18 days since restrictions were imposed in view of the defanging of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir.
After August 6, stone-pelting incidents in the Valley have followed a downward graph, but for a brief spike on Fridays and around the Independence Day. On August 6, the day Parliament cleared the resolution to withdraw J&K’s special status, stone-pelting incidents rose by three times as compared to the previous day. By August 7, they declined, only to climb on Friday (August 9) ahead of Eid-ul-Zuha.
250 stone-pelting cases left 56 CRPF men hurt
Post-Eid, stone-pelting cases went into a downward spiral, clocking a single-digit daily figure, but then rose the next Friday before resuming the slide. In fact, just two incidents targeted at the CRPF were recorded across the Valley on August 22.
The highest number of stone-pelting incidents recorded in Kashmir in a single day after the end of special status was 44, on August 6.
The nearly 250 stone-pelting protests between August 5 and 22 across the Valley left 56 CRPF personnel injured and around 25 force vehicles damaged. These numbers are way lower than those recorded in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in 2016. As many as 338 stone-pelting incidents were reported from across the Valley between July 8 and 25, 2016. Over 1,460 CRPF personnel were injured in the protests and more than 200 force vehicles damaged.
After the withdrawal of special status for J&K, stonepelting protests seem to have lost their sting with most of them triggered by small groups. The youth who operate in these groups often come out of their houses, hurl stones and retreat to their hiding places.
The district-wise distribution of stone-pelting protests shows that the miscreants are mostly active in Srinagar, with the remaining districts of Pulwama, Baramulla, Bandipore, Budgam and Ganderbal together accounting for barely 12% of the total incidents. For instance, the lowest stonepelting cases were in Ganderbal at three and the highest in Baramulla (10). An officer said Srinagar is the focus of stonepelters as it is politically important and also gets them the maximum media attention.
In the latter half of 2016, Srinagar witnessed the highest number of stone-pelting cases at 99, followed by 55 in Pulwama, 47 in Anantnag, 43 in Baramulla and 31 in Budgam.