Jammu and Kashmir's Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh on Thursday said that while the Covid pandemic has affected the fight against militancy in the valley, security forces are focussed and the operations against the ultras will be stepped up in the coming time.
Talking to reporters in south Kashmir's Kulgam district after touring many areas to review the security measures, the DGP said that during the review meetings, a special focus was laid on enhancing the anti-militancy operations across south Kashmir.
"We cannot deny that the Covid pandemic has affected anti-militancy operations to some extent because there is a need to take precautions. Many policemen and security forces personnel who were on deployment duty have tested positive for the virus. Then the police personnel are on lockdown duty for implementing the restrictions.
"So, it has affected (the operations), but it does not mean that we are leaving that area and focusing on the other. The operations are going on and we will step up the operations so that this runs parallel," the DPG said.
Singh said local militant recruitment in the Kashmir valley has gone down and the police wants the youth who have picked up arms to return to the mainstream.
"Police have been working hard to prevent misguided youth from joining the militancy. In Kulgam, a group of youth, who were about to join militancy, were brought back and united with their families. Similarly, in other districts of South Kashmir, many such groups were prevented from joining the wrong path," he said.
The DGP said unfortunately, the recruitment was on because "Pakistan-based agencies want the recruitment to continue".
"Their job is to give more oxygen to outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Al-Badr. They want to make them stronger. However, the recruitment is less as compared to previous years," he said.
Asked about the number of militants active in South Kashmir, Singh said while the number of keeps on fluctuating, it has come down compared to previous years.
"At present, the number is around 100 plus and I hope it will come down further," he said.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said Singh visited the twin South Kashmir districts of Anantnag and Kulgam where he chaired security review meetings with jurisdictional officers and took stock of the situation.
He also inaugurated 13 different facilities for police officers and personnel in Kulgam.
In his address, the DGP stressed upon officers to be vigilant and asked them not to give any breathing space to the enemies of peace who were looking to create disturbance.
Singh said the peaceful atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir has been achieved after a lot of hard work and sacrifices by the police and security forces and added that more efforts are required to consolidate the peace in the union territory.
The DGP complimented the police personnel for handling different challenges successfully and urged them to continue work with the same dedication in the future.
Singh said the police along with other agencies have succeeded in creating a sense of security and he impressed upon the officers to work with full professionalism, sincerity and in a dedicated manner for the welfare of the people while taking due care of their security.
He advised the police to continue their fight against drugs and book all those involved in this menace as it has emerged a major threat in recent times.