Only ‘specific’ anti-militancy ops during Ramzan in J&K

Only ‘specific’ anti-militancy ops during Ramzan in J&K

PTI file photo for representation.

Security forces in Kashmir will carry out only ‘specific’ anti-militancy operations in Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan, which began earlier this week.

“Only specific input-based anti-militancy operations will continue across Kashmir in Ramzan and all efforts would be made so that religious gatherings are not disturbed,” a top police officer revealed.

He said though there are no directions from the Centre for Ramzan truce like last year, security grid will be launching operations against militants only after ‘specific’ input is received. Last year Ministry of Home Affairs had announced Non-Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO) in Ramzan. However, it didn’t extend the NICO beyond a month.

“We don’t want to lower the guard as upcoming summer months pose a great challenge as annual Amarnath yatra is beginning in less than two months’ time and chances of surge in the infiltration attempts on the Line of Control (LoC) are also high after melting of snow,” the officer said.

Since the beginning of this year, security forces have killed 77 militants. All the foreign militants killed so far were neutralised in the hinterland and none was killed on the LoC. “Given the fact majority of foreign element in the militancy was cleaned, the move resulted in a significant dip in the local recruitment into militancy, first time since 2017,” he added.

According to reports this year 32 local boys joined militancy and of them, three returned to their families, five were killed while four were arrested.

During the last Ramzan ceasefire, the number of militancy-related incidents more than doubled while recruitment by militant groups and grenade attacks also witnessed a spike. The killings of Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir, and Aurangzeb, an Army soldier, put paid to any hopes for extension of the ceasefire.

In 2000, the then NDA government, headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had taken a similar initiative by announcing a unilateral suspension of ant-insurgency operations in the state during Ramzan which continued for five months from November to May 2001.