Days after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said that security forces in Kashmir will respond strongly to protesters trying to disturb counter-insurgency operations, another senior security official has said that since last year interference by some civilians has helped 25 militants escape from encounter sites, a report by ‘The Indian Express’ has said.
The paper quoted him as saying that there had been a dozen incidents since 2016 in the Valley in which 25 militants managed to escape due to stone pelting and protests by civilians at the encounter sites. He further said that Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Abu Dujana was trapped in at least two operations, but he managed to escape
Last year in May, four militants ran away when a crowd started stone pelting during an operation in Balapur. Three other militants escaped at Prisal earlier this month when civilian protesters, he addded.
Officials also pointed out that number of militants killed by security forces in the state this year has doubled over those killed in each of the past two years during the same time. At least 23 militants have been killed till now while only 10 militants were killed during the same period in 2016 and 2015.
“The increase in number of militants killed is due to their movement from higher ranges to populated areas of the Valley following the heavy snowfall this year. We have carried out specific intelligence-based operations against the militants in the villages,” the official was quoted as saying by the paper.
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As per J&K state Multi-Agency Centre data, at least 90 local youths have joined militancy since last year. MAC suggests that there are around 400 militants in South Kashmir, 150 of them foreign and 250 local.