Since the announcement of the Ramadan ceasefire by the Union Government, the Kashmir valley has witnessed 43 incidents of violence, including 18 grenade attacks and 22 killings.
In the first three weeks of the holy month of Ramadan, which started on May 17, only three days have passed when militants did not initiate any action.
The militants made their intentions clear on the very first day of Ramadan when they struck in the heart of the city and stole three rifles from a police post near the venue where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to attend a function two days later.
During this period of “halting of operations”, 16 militants, two security men and four civilians have been killed. While all 16 militants, including two locals, have been killed near the Line of Control (LoC), militants have carried out at least six attacks on the Army in north and south Kashmir districts. In these attacks, one soldier was killed and three others were injured.
Grenades have emerged as the weapon of choice of ultras during the unilateral ceasefire period, which is still underway. Eighteen grenade attacks took place since May 17 that left over 46 persons, including 29 civilians injured. Police blame Azhar Masood-led Jaish-e-Mohammed for most of these attacks.
“However, terrorists are not a party to Non Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO)! This was to be expected,” former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Northern Command, Lt Gen (retired) HS Panag said.
Last year, in the first three weeks of Ramadan, when anti-militancy operations were at the peak, 22 militants, 11 security men and four civilians were killed in violence.
Out of 22 slain militants, at least 10 were killed in anti-militancy operations in the Valley and rest were killed in counter-infiltration operations. Militants had carried out a deadly attack during the last Ramadan in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district which left six policemen, including a Station House Officer, dead.
During this Ramadan, the civilian casualties have reduced and it has had an impact on the ground situation. At least 30 civilians were killed in forces’ action either near the encounter sites or clashes this year before the Union Government announced to halt the anti-militancy operations. In the first three weeks of Ramadan, two civilians were killed, one in cross-firing in Pulwama and another was crushed to death during clashes at the old city.
Two civilians were killed by suspected militants in the Hajin area of Bandipora district.
The civilian killings in forces’ action was a major concern for the government as these have been triggering a fresh wave of protests.
There was one incident during Ramadan in which four girls were also injured allegedly in the Army firing at Shopian in south Kashmir.
The other concern for the forces has been the recruitment of the local youth by militants, which has not stopped even during Ramadan. Police sources said at least seven youths had joined militant ranks in the first three weeks, taking the total number of new recruits to nearly 65 this year.
There has also been a reduction in the stone-throwing incidents in the Kashmir valley. Since May 17, there have been around 50 such incidents. Last year during Ramadan, there were over 200 such incidents.
May 16: Home Minister announces halting of anti-militancy operations during Ramadan
May 17: Three key separatists term ceasefire a joke. Militant groups reject truce
May 18: Five militants killed close to Line of Control in Handwara forest
May 19: In Srinagar, Prime Minister says only solution to conflict is development
May 23: 10 civilians injured in a grenade attack in the Bijbehara area of Anantnag
May 25: A man was killed after militants slit his throat in Hajin, Bandipora
May 27: A soldier and a civilian killed in Pulwama after militants attack Army
June 2: A special police officer, shot at by militants in Pulwama, succumbs
June 2: Militants carry out a series of grenade attacks in Srinagar, injuring seven
June 4: Militants lob grenades in Shopian and Pulwama, leaving 23 injured
June 5: Militants attack an Army camp in Hajin, Bandipora
June 6: Three militants killed in Machil, Kupwara
Violence during Ramadan
Militant-initiated actions 43
Grenade attacks 18
Militants killed 16
Forces’ casualties 2
Civilians killed in action by forces 2
Civilians killed by militants 2
Civilians hurt in grenade attacks 29
Security men hurt in grenade attacks 17
Civilians hurt in firing by forces 4
IED attacks 2
Rifles looted 5
Stone-throwing incidents 48
Last year, first three weeks saw more forces’ casualties, stone-throwing
Grenade attacks 7
Militants killed 22
Casualties to forces 11
Civilian casualties in action by forces 4
Security men injured in militant attacks 28
Stone-throwing incidents Nearly 150