Surpassing last year’s militant death toll of 209, the security force have killed 223 ultras in 2018 even as there is still one month to go for this year.
Last year, the security forces had launched an ‘Operation All-out’ to flush out the militants who had managed to strengthen their base following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani. The incident had triggered a nearly five-month-long unrest in 2016.
The high toll of militants this year — highest since 2010 — was despite the fact that the security forces had halted anti-militancy operations during Ramzan.
This year the security forces targeted the leadership of the militants, and in the process have killed many big names such as Jaish-e-Mohammad commanders Mufti Waqas who the police claimed was the mastermind of the Sunjawan attack near Jammu, Mufti Yasir, Usman Hyder (nephew of Masood Azhar), scholar-turned-Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Manan Wani, Altaf Dar, Saddam Paddar, Sheikh Tauseef, Sameer Tiger, Umar Majeed, Abbas Bhat, Azad Baba, Mehraj Bangroo, Shakoor Dar, Eisa Fazili and Shakir Hassan Dar.
“Big names have been targeted this year,” a senior police officer said. “There are a few top names left in the militant ranks.”
According to officials, of the 223 militants killed, 130 were locals.
The successful operations that led to the high number of killings indicate that the militants are facing the heat. However, this year the youth continue to join militant ranks.
“The militants have been on the backfoot due to intense anti-militancy operations and we see that they have not been able to carry out any sensational attack on forces,” the officer added. In 2017, militant group Jaish had carried out at least three deadly fidayeen attacks in Kashmir that left many security men dead.
The militancy-infested districts of south Kashmir saw 131 militant killings. Shopian district recorded 44 militant killings — the highest — among four districts of south Kashmir.
In north Kashmir, 45 militants have been killed in the hinterland and 47 were eliminated along the Line of Control (LoC).
According to figures, the Hizbul Mujahideen — the indigenous militant group — has lost 60 militants, followed by the Lashkar-e-Toiba whose 59 militants were killed this year. The Jaish-e-Mohammad has lost 32 militants in Kashmir this year out of whom 10 were locals.
At least 16 militants of other groups, Al-Badr, Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen and radical groups Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, and the Islamic State of J&K were also killed this year.