12 top militants on radar, terror recruitment down by 48 percent: J&K Police

Kashmir terror attack
Representational Image

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): Jammu and Kashmir police today said that 12 top commanders were on its hit list including Hizbul Mujahideen commander Dr Saifullah and Jaish-e-Muhammad’s IED expert Lamboo Bhai, whose movements are being tracked to ensure they are eliminated as soon as possible.

Giving a round-up of counter-insurgency operations conducted in first six months of the year, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said that 12 top commanders are on police radar. “The 12 commanders include Dr Saifullah of Hizb and Lamboo Bhai of Jaish, who is an 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) here.

Kumar said that 118 militants were killed this year while 67 joined militancy from January to June, compared to 129 last year during this period. “24 new recruits have already been killed in encounters and rest are active in the field,” he said.

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

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

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 the field,” he said and urged parents to appeal their children who have joined militancy to return back. “We promise we will facilitate their return and won’t lodge any case against them,” the IGP said.

He 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 the first six months of this year, 118 militants were killed, 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 said that 66 militant modules were busted and 66 weapons were seized that include 21 Ak-47 rifles, 2 SLRs, one INSAS and 42 weapons. “In total, from the slain militants and from the modules we busted, 200 weapons were recovered,” the IGP said, adding that 22 hardcore militants were arrested including top Hizb commander Naveed.

The IGP said that 309 Over Ground Workers (OGWs) have been 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 a lot of activities are being carried out on social media and so far 21 FIRs have been registered.

He said the police also took a decision to ensure burial of slain local militants in Handwara and Baramulla areas of north Kashmir in presence of few family members and a magistrate, in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. “This was to prevent the spread of a pandemic,” he said. “So far, 79 bodies of local militants have been buried in Handwara and Baramulla in the presence of the magistrate and their family members.”

About the Narco 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 has been seized and cash of Rs 1.37 Crore seized as well,” he said.