Today: Jun 25, 2024

56 Pakistanis among 186 terrorists killed, 159 arrested in J&K in 2022: DGP

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Jammu/Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday said 56 Pakistani nationals were among 186 terrorists killed in the Union territory in 2022 and sounded a note of caution over “online terrorism” propagated by the neighboring country, including the spread of fake news.

In Jammu, police chief Dilbag Singh told reporters that a total of 186 terrorists were killed and 159 arrested in 2022 which proved to be the “most successful” in recent years. He added that security agencies were moving in the right direction to achieve “zero terror” activities in J&K.

Singh, during his year-end presser, also said that effective policing has helped in neutralising as many as 146 terror modules that had been tasked to carry out selective and targeted killings, besides grenade or Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks.

He said this year, around 100 youngsters joined the terror ranks in the Union territory, the lowest in many years, of which 63 were killed in encounters and 17 more arrested. “The remaining are still at large, and efforts were on to nab or deradicalise them,” Singh added.

At the same time, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Vijay Kumar, who heads the Kashmir range, gave out similar figures but added that 2022 saw the emergence of a new challenge for security agencies – “Pakistan-sponsored online terrorism”.

“Pakistan-sponsored online terrorism is a challenge now like spreading fake news or propaganda and targeting journalists or civilians through Pak-based news agency KMS, Telegram channels, and online portal (Kashmirfight). All law enforcement agencies are jointly working to counter it,” Kumar said in a series of tweets.

Dilbag Singh said the casualties suffered by police and the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces also recorded a dip in 2022, with 14 policemen and 17 CAPF personnel losing their lives in terror attacks.

He said civilian casualties also came down during the year and just 24 minor law and order incidents were reported. Efforts are on to ensure that this number drops to zero, he added.

The police chief said conspiracies to disturb peace are continuing from across the border but “we have been successful in ensuring that the local youth are not misled into the path of violence”.

He said police and other security agencies made strenuous efforts to bring back misguided youngsters and reunite them with their families.

Withholding the number of such youngsters who were brought back to the mainstream, Singh said they were motivated by Pakistan and its sponsored elements, but they were de-radicalised. This is a major achievement for the forces this year, he said.

“Our mission is to move towards achieving zero terror activities and for that, we have to dismantle the terror ecosystem, which is keeping the terrorism alive, and we are doing that,” Singh added.

On similar lines, Kumar said in Srinagar that more than two dozen boys have been brought back to the mainstream with the cooperation of their parents, and they are living happily with their families.

Highlighting the sporting activities taking place, the police chief expressed satisfaction over the start of night cricket tournaments in Bandipora, Ganderbal and Srinagar, including the downtown city.

“Such activities (night cricket) were not seen earlier. It happened because the trust and faith of the people in the official machinery has increased manifold in the recent years….I am sure terrorism will be finished soon,” Singh said.

He said new trends have been observed in the past one year wherein “Pakistan-based handlers and agencies set up small groups of modules and assigned them the task of selective and targeted killings and hurling of grenades.

“We have busted 146 such modules consisting of four to five members. Barring one such module, the rest were neutralised,” Singh added.

The DGP said security forces recovered 188 AK assault rifles, 275 pistols, 354 grenades, and 61 Improvised Explosive Devices, some of which were ready-to-use and dropped by drones from across the International Border to trigger explosions at public places in Jammu city and elsewhere.

“These IEDs were recovered before they reached their delivery point. Unfortunately, incidents of explosions at a vegetable market and two empty buses occurred in Udhampur district, but those behind the incidents were arrested,” he said.

In Srinagar, Kumar said the police achieved “100 percent success” in ensuring peace and stability in the Valley in 2022, and all but two chiefs and top commanders of terror outfits have been neutralised.

“There were no hartals, street violence, internet shutdown, funeral processions of terrorists, glamorising of terrorists and stone pelting incidents, especially at encounter sites, and this benefitted all sections of society,” he said.

“On L&O (law and order) front, we have achieved 100% success in peace & stability. From 2897 cases of L&O incidents in 2016 to 26 minor cases in 2022. No civilian lost life in firing while handling L&O problems in the last more than 3 years,” the ADGP tweeted.

He said the security forces made major gains on the anti-terrorist operations front this year. “All Chiefs & Top Commanders of terror outfits neutralised except HM’s Chief Farooq Nalli & LeT Commander Reyaz Sethri and both would be neutralised soon,” Kumar said in another tweet.

The process of identifying and taking cognisance of each threat by registering FIRs and making arrests is going on. Properties were attached in 49 terror-related cases this year, he said.

He also said 29 civilians were killed by terrorists in the Valley.

Of the 29 civilian casualties, 21 — six Hindus, including three Kashmiri Pandits, and 15 Muslims — were locals and eight were from other states.

“All terrorists involved in these terror crimes have been neutralised except Basit Dar and Adil Wani who will be neutralised soon,” the ADGP said.

The year saw 100 fresh recruitments into terrorist ranks — a decline of 37 percent compared to the previous year — Kumar said.

“Maximum (74) joined LeT. Out of total recruitment, 65 terrorists neutralised in encounters, 17 terrorists arrested and 18 terrorists are still active,” he added.

Kumar said the life span of the newly-recruited terrorists has also declined drastically.

“Out of total 65 newly recruited terrorists killed this year, 58-89 percent were neutralised within the first month of their joining,” the officer said.

‘Terrorists issuing threats to keep the fear factor alive’

Terrorists are threatening minority community employees and others in Jammu and Kashmir to keep the “fear factor” alive but “we should not be cowed down by such acts”, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said here on Saturday.

The police chief’s remarks came at a time when Kashmiri Pandit migrant employees and Jammu-based Reserved Category employees are camping in Jammu demanding their relocation outside the Valley.

The Resistance Front (TRF), “an offshoot of the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)”, has issued five hitlists containing names of Kashmiri Pandit employees in the recent past and warned of attacks.

“The terror threats against minorities or sometimes police or forces (is routine). The one who works and who is on the ground faces this type of thing in such a situation. We do not stop walking on the roads in view of apprehension of accidents. If someone threatens us to sit at home, can we stop coming out?” Singh asked.

“We have to take action against them and we are doing that. We will continue our actions against them more strictly,” he told reporters here.

The police chief was responding to a question about the threats issued by TRF. “Blood-thirsty terror groups who have been bleeding Kashmiris for the past over three decades at the behest of Pakistan’s ISI and terrorist handlers sitting across the border are trying to keep terrorism alive,” he said.

“The Resistance Front (TRF) and Kashmir Fight are both mouthpieces of Pakistan which are being run from across the border. TRF is like an umbrella to take credit for terror actions which are mostly being done either by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) or the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). They do not want to own their actions for some reason,” Singh said.

Barring one, he said, most of the modules involved in selective and targeted killings have been busted. “We will not let them succeed in their conspiracy and will bring the culprits to book.”

“Threats are meant to keep the fear factor alive. Sometimes they are able to target a minority community member or a non-local labourer on the pretext that they are being settled (in Kashmir) or some other narrative.

“J&K residents have become settlers to them and it is decided by those sitting in Pakistan. This wrong, motivated and mischievous narration is aimed at justifying such type of actions against minorities and poor labourers who are there for a living,” Singh said.

He said analysis of the attacks on the labourers revealed that all of them were living either in one-room rented accommodations or in groups at sheds.

Giving credit to the people for the success against terrorism, he said, “People are the biggest beneficiaries of peace. Every parent wants their children to grow in a peaceful atmosphere and every businessman also wants their business to run smoothly.”

Singh said it is a matter of great satisfaction that there was no terrorist- or separatist-sponsored strike in the Valley this year.

“Children are studying and businesses are running without any break. There used to be a time when even marriages had to be cancelled due to law and order situations. Nothing like that happens anymore,” the officer said.

On Wednesday’s encounter in the Sidhra bypass in Jammu that left four terrorists dead, the DGP said an investigation in the case is going on and some important clues have been found.

He said the group is believed to have infiltrated from Pakistan and none of those killed were local terrorists.

On the recovery of an M4 rifle from the slain terrorists, Singh said such weapons have been recovered in the past as well but there is no indication to suggest smuggling of weapons left behind by the US in Afghanistan was taking place.

In response to another question, he said the security agencies were fully prepared for the upcoming Republic Day to ensure peaceful functions across the Union territory.

The police chief further said that he would like to see a movie made on the sacrifice of J&K police personnel in the fight against terrorism.

Singh said holding the G20 meeting in J&K is a proud moment for the people of the UT and “adequate security will be provided for the event.”

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