In response to an attack on a mobile vehicle check post in south Kashmir’s Shopian, two terrorists and four civilians were killed by the security forces. According to the local residents, it is not the first time this year that civilians have been killed in army firing. The incident has certainly garnered a lot of attention and sparked unrest.
Two months back, a protests erupted in Kashmir claimed three lives in firing by the army, which was claimed to a retaliation to a violent demonstration by a stone-throwing mob.
As per the sources, the body of a terrorist, Amir Ahmad Malik, was found on the firing site along with a weapon. The body of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Ashiq Hussain Bhat who was reportedly missing since November was recovered from an orchard, at a distance of around 6 kms from the firing spot.
Among the other civilian casualties was 24-year-old student of a university in Maharashtra. His body was found in his vehicle.
Expressing his remorse, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Deeply distressed by more deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire in Shopian. My heartfelt condolences to the deceased’s families.”
In an attempt to keep a check on the separatist-called protests, the local authorities have imposed restrictions in various parts of Srinagar. The internet and rail services have been suspended across south Kashmir. Also, the Businesses and markets remained closed in the city. The civil services exam was postponed by the State Public Service Commission.
According to the security forces, the attack took place around 8 pm. “The three OGWs/accomplices in the car who were accompanying the terrorist were found to be dead,” a statement from the army said.
As a matter of fact, it is said to be the highest number of terrorists killed by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and the number of civilians killed in terror-related violence.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir Union Minister of State said the 203 terrorists were killed in the state in 2017 till December 10, in comparison to 150 in calendar year 2016, 108 in 2015 and 110 in 2014.
Talking about the number of civilians killed in terror- related violence in the state, the minister said, “While 37 of them were killed till December 10 this year, 15 were killed in calendar year 2016, 17 in 2015 and 28 in 2014. Terror-related incidents in the state till December 10 this year were also the highest at 335 as compared to 322 in calendar year 2016, 208 in 2015 and 222 in 2014.”
Ahir believes that the trend of violence in the states affected by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) had shown a decline since 2014. “In the current year (till November 30), LWE violence has decreased by 17.4 per cent, from 984 (incidents) to 813, as compared to the corresponding period in 2016,” he said.
When asked about the situation in the north-east, Ahir mentioned about a significant improvement in terms of reduction in the numbers of violent incidents and security forces’ casualties in 2016. “In 2017, there has been a further improvement in the security situation in the region as the number of insurgency incidents has come down to 276 in the first 11 months of the year,” he said.
“While the states of Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura had no insurgency-related violence, the number of these incidents had come down in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya in 2017 (till November 30), as compared to the corresponding period of 2016,” Ahir added.
He further talked about an “increase” in the number of violent incidents in Arunachal Pradesh during the period. Answering a question on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Ahir said necessary directions were issued from time to time after reviewing the security situation of the state. “In order to prevent the activities of militants, numerous steps have been taken, including strengthening of the operational grid with an enhanced human intelligence and use of technical intelligence grid,” he added.