Govt claim of peace in Kashmir belies facts

The Narendra Modi government has been maintaining that the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved but the Home Ministry report for 2017-18 tells a different story. PTI file photo

Terror incidents have risen by 6.21% in 2017 compared to the previous year, while civilian casualties have gone up by a whopping 166.66% during the same period. Similarly, infiltration attempts have also grown.

However, there is something to cheer for the security establishment as the situation in the north-east, which "remained complex for quite some time”, improved “substantially” last year to record the lowest number of insurgency incidents since 1997. The insurgency-related incidents in the region decreased by 36% (308 incidents) compared to 2016 (484).

According to the Annual Report 2017-18 of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released on Wednesday, the year 2017 "witnessed an increase" in incidents of terrorist violence and casualties of civilians though there was a slight decrease in casualties among security personnel.

The official statistics showed that 40 civilians were killed in 2017 and it is the highest figure since 2013. In 2016, 15 were killed and it more than doubled to 40 last year. Only in 2014, the number was beyond 20 when 28 civilians were killed. In 2013, there were 15 deaths from civilian side, while it was 17 in 2015.

The terror incidents also rose from 322 in 2016 to 342 last year, the highest in the past five years. While there were 170 incidents in 2013, it rose to 222 the next year to fall to 208 in 2015 only to drastically rise the next year.

Rajnath's claims

On several occasions last year, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had claimed that the situation in Kashmir has improved despite Pakistan's efforts.

However, the security establishment seeks to find solace in the fact that there was a 2.44% decrease in the death of security personnel, while it recorded 42% rise in the killing of terrorists. Last year, 80 security personnel were killed as against 82 in the previous year. IN 2017, 213 terrorists were killed compared to 150 earlier.

"Since the advent of militancy in J&K (in 1990), 13,976 civilians and 5,123 security force personnel have lost their lives (as on 31-12-2017)," the report said.

Intrinsically linked

The report noted that the ongoing militancy in Kashmir is "intrinsically linked" with infiltration of terrorists from across the border, both from the International Border as well as the Line of Control in the state.

"There has been a spurt in infiltration attempts during the year from the Pakistan side," it said. As against 371 in 2016, there were 406 attempts last year, again the highest in past five years.

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