83 militants & 8 commanders killed in Kashmir in 2019

PTI file photo of encounter operation in Handwara.

Continuing with relentless operations against militants, security forces have killed 91 ultras, including top eight commanders, in “well-coordinated operations” in Kashmir since January this year.
 
The slain commanders were from indigenous Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Pakistan based Jaish-e-Muhammad, and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, an al-Qaeda affiliated group. 
 
“The killing of top leadership of Hizbul, Jaish, Lashkar and now AGH has caused a major to the local militant recruitment for the first time since 2017. This year, 40 local youth joined various militant ranks and the figure is lowest since 2017,” a senior police officer told DH.
 
He said among the new recruits, five were killed, three apprehended and four returned. “Among the surviving militant commanders, Hizbul chief operational commander Riyaz Naikoo is the only one left now as far as the militant leadership is concerned,” the officer said and added today, there is no Jaish commander active in Kashmir. 
 
The slain commanders include the ones who were part of the deadly fidayeen (suicide) attack on the security forces at Lethpora last year, and February 14 attack on CRPF convoy in which 40 paramilitary troopers were killed. 
 
Another feature of anti-militancy operations this year has been the least civilian causalities during the encounters. “The strategy to conduct pre-dawn anti-militancy operations has worked well. And with the help of increased human intelligence it was decided to launch pre-dawn operations due to which civilians, who earlier used to disrupt the operations, get least time to react,” security experts say.
 
“In pre-dawn operations, there is a surprise element for militants as they are caught at a time when they expect it the least. And midnight cordons were the best thing to zero in on the militant hideouts,” they said.
 
In 90% of the operations this year there was no collateral damage. “The reason to conduct midnight operations and to conclude the same by pre-dawn timing was to avoid confrontation with the protesting civilians, who otherwise would get closer to the encounter sites. In most of the anti-militancy operations, militants were caught totally unaware of the cordon, a big advantage for the forces,” they claimed.

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