As many as 257 terrorists were killed across Jammu and Kashmir this year, Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said Monday, asserting that counter-insurgency operations would continue in 2019 with major focus on strengthening border and hinterland security.
He said 91 security personnel also laid down their lives fighting militancy in the state during the year, which ended at a high note with smooth conduct of the annual Amarnath yatra and elections to panchayats and local bodies after a long gap despite security concerns and challenges.
The police chief asked the youth to focus on studies and their careers and not indulge in violence by getting swayed by the propaganda sponsored by Pakistan and its stooges within and outside the Valley.
“On militancy front, we have registered a major success by killing 257 terrorists this year which is highest in the past 10 years. The dead include top commanders of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfits. At the same time we have lost 91 security personnel, including 45 policemen,” Singh told reporters here.
He said the state is faced with a three decades-long insurgency which is consuming lives of people and that was “very painful”.
“Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism in the state, trained militants are sneaking from across the border and misguide the local youth and also force them into militancy,” the DGP said.
He said after suffering heavily, the militants under frustrated targeted the families of the policemen and killed civilians by branding them as informers but the civil society rose to the occasion and expressed their resentment.
Asked about the number of active militants in the state, Singh said since militancy is Pakistan-sponsored, it is continuously making attempts to send as many ultras as it could to maintain the strength of the terrorists.
“The infiltration from across the border was sizeable this year as well and despite neutralising such a huge number of terrorists, there are still about 300 active militants present in the state. We are trying to further strengthen the border security as well as the security in the hinterland while the counter-insurgency operation will continue during the next year as well,” he said.
The DGP asked religious leaders to talk about peace as “we have now enough of politics of violence”.
“We will not tolerate those who indulge in wrong activities and play with the career of our students who are interested in their studies and want better future,” he said.
“I want to ask the students to focus on their studies and careers and not indulge in violence by getting swayed by the propaganda sponsored by Pakistan and their cronies on this side and that side. Students are interested in studies and they need a peaceful atmosphere,” Singh said.
On the alleged harassment of a militant family in south Kashmir, he said, “We have taken note of the incident and will look into it.”
However, the police chief said there are two faces to every coin and if you do not investigate any militancy-related incident you would not move forward but sometimes allegations do come. “If there is an issue of highhandedness, we will certainly look into it,” he said.
On the looting of four weapons from policemen guarding a politician in Srinagar, Singh said, “Such incidents are not worth ignoring. Such incidents show our shortcomings and we are taking appropriate action in this case.”
In response to a question about various militant outfits joining hands and working in close coordination, the DGP said, “We too are working together — the police, Army, CRPF, BSF and other forces. If they have come together it is part of their strategy, but we will continue with our counter-insurgency operations to deal with them.”
He said the killing of a large number of militants this year also indicates increase in violence though it is an achievement of sorts for the forces but at the same time the increase in the level of violence is a “concern for all of us”.
Singh said police is working on fixing problems with CCTV cameras in the winter capital and getting more gadgets and high-tech equipment for improving security in the state.
“We are doing manual checks of vehicles and we are planning to get scanners. We are working on it,” he said.
On the misuse of social media by elements inimical to peace, he said a mechanism is in place but needed refinement to take on the challenges as various social media platforms are being run from Pakistan.
“We are trying to further improve our mechanism. Police has blocked many such platforms but those running these platforms manage to cause damage before getting blocked,” the DGP said.
In response to another question about the activities of Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) along the borders, he said the Army and the BSF troops deployed on the Line of Control and the International Border are competent enough to deal with it.
Terming the drug menace in the state as a “major challenge”, he said smuggling and consumption of drugs has gone up this year even as police launched massive campaigns, arrested 1,291 people and recovered 28 kgs of heroin, 362 kgs of charas and ganja and 19,873 kgs of opium and poppy straw this year.
“As many as 56 drug peddlers were also booked under the Public Safety Act. We need to do more in this direction,” he said.
Singh said crime chart in the state has shown a marginal increase with over 26,000 cases being registered this year compared to 25,500 cases last year.