Srinagar: Kashmir director general of police SP Vaid on Sunday dismissed reports that the Islamic State was active in the Valley, a day after security forces carried out a major operation against militants in the state.
“I don’t think ISIS has any imprint here,” he said at a joint press conference of security forces heads held in Srinagar. “Kashmir will be free of violence very soon. Yesterday’s operation has cleaned up the area. I am sure people can now live their lives without any fear of terror.”
Vaid was referring to an anti-terror operation on Saturday evening, when six militants – including two Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders and the nephew of Mumbai terror attacks plotter Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi – were killed by security forces in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. No militant managed to escape from the scene of the encounter.
Lt General JS Sandhu, general officer commanding (GOC) of the 15 Corps, said security forces have killed around 190 militants so far this year. “Of these, around 66 were eliminated while trying to infiltrate into the country through the line of control,” he added.
Sandhu elaborated on the various measures undertaken by security forces to counter militant attacks, and encourage local terror recruits to return to mainstream society. “We killed around 125-130 militants in the hinterlands of Kashmir Valley this year. This resulted in a remarkable change in the situation here. We inducted special forces into service, and were practically launching search ops on a daily basis,” he said.
The Lt General said security forces were also undertaking major steps, such as bringing in smart components, to plug holes in the LoC. Referring to Saturday’s encounter, he said: “Based on specific information, the CRPF, Army and J&K police launched a joint operation in which six militants were eliminated. None of them were locals. I commend all the agencies concerned for ensuring success in the operation.”
CRPF inspector general (operations) Zulfikar Hassan exhorted local recruits to return home, and assured that they would be treated with dignity. “Locals who have turned to militancy can always come back to the mainstream. Police, army and CRPF helpines can be used to contact us,” he said.
However, Kashmir IGP Muneer Khan said this does not mean that the security forces were going soft on terrorism. “We plan to go all out on anti-militancy ops,” he added.
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