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118 militants killed this year, 67 joined militancy: IGP

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“Hizb’s Dr Saifullah, Jaish’s IED expert Lamboo Bhai among 12 top militants on our radar”

Srinagar: Police on Wednesday said 12 top commanders were on its hit-list that include Hizbul Mujahideen commander Dr Saifullah and Jaish-e-Muhammad’s IED expert Lamboo Bhai, whose movement is being tracked.

Giving details about the counter-insurgency operations conducted in the first six months of current year, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir said 12 top commanders are on the police radar, whose movement is being tracked so that they are killed soon.

“The 12 commanders include Dr Saifullah of Hizb and Lamboo Bhai or Jaish, who is expert in IED making. Besides, Gazi Rashid, who is new Jaish chief in Kashmir, and is hiding in Khrew area of Pulwama, is also on our radar,” the IGP said while addressing a press conference at Police Control Room (PCR) Srinagar on the occasion of completion of six months of 2020.

The IGP also informed that 118 militants were killed this year while 67 joined militancy from January to June, compared to 129 last year during this period. “Twenty-four new recruits have already been killed in encounters and rest are active in the field,” he said.

He said of the 118 militants killed this year, 57 belonged to Hizb, 24 from Lashkar-e-Toiba and 22 from Jaish. “Seven militants from ISJK were also killed while one slain was from Al-Badr,” the IGP said.

He said “police achieved success during the operations as top commanders that include Hizb’s Reyaz Naikoo, Haider of Lashkar, Qari Yasir of Jaish, Burhan Koka of Ansaar Gazwatul Hind (AGH) and Fouji Bhai, and IED expert of Jaish were killed. We are also able to kill Hizb’s poster boy who was luring youth towards militancy and raising funds (Junaid Sehrai),” he said.

He said local militant recruitment went down this year by 48 percent which is a “big success” for the forces.

“Among the 67 new recruits, 24 were killed, 12 arrested and rest are in field,” he said, and urged parents to appeal their children to return home. “We promise we will facilitate their return and won’t lodge any case against them,” the IGP said.

He also said that “a misconception was being created on social media that militants were short of weapons and were using pistols only, which is not true.

“In six months of this year, we recovered 62 AK-47 rifles, 9 SLRs, one M-4 carbine, one Pika and only 44 pistols,” he said. “Small weapons are used by militants to carry out attacks in areas where there is a public rush.”

He also said that 66 militant modules were busted and 66 weapons that include 21 AK 47 riffles, 2 SLRs, one INSAS and 42 other weapons recovered.

“In total from the slain militants and from the modules we busted, 200 weapons were recovered,” the IGP said, adding that 22 “hard-core” militants were arrested including top Hizb commander Naveed, who was travelling along with the arrested DySP Devender Singh.

The IGP said that 309 over-ground workers (OGWs) were arrested this year so far.

“Fifteen civilians were killed in militancy-related incidents,” he said.

He said police is facing a challenge of “social media usage for militants and their supporters”. Terming it as an “online militancy”, the IGP said that lot of activities are being carried out on social media and so far 21 FIRs have been registered.

He said police took a decision to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring burial of slain local militants in Handwara and Baramulla areas of north Kashmir in presence of a few family members and a magistrate.

“This was to prevent the spread of pandemic. People have hailed this effort of ours,” he claimed.

“So far 79 bodies of local militants were buried in Handwara and Baramulla in presence of the magistrate and their family members,” he informed.

About the narcotics trade, he said “this has a militancy link as funds are directly being given to the militants. So far 304 cases have been registered and 500 people involved in this have been arrested. Heroin worth Rs 200 crore and cash of Rs 1.37 Crore has been seized. Besides huge quantity of poppy, fuki, and other drugs that include injections, tablets and syrups have been recovered,” he said.

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