Srinagar: Reflecting high success in their counter-terrorism campaign in Kashmir this year, security forces eliminated 171 terrorists during 2021 and recovered a huge quantity of arms and ammunition.
At least 168 terrorists are still active in Kashmir and among them 83 are foreigners, IGP Kashmir Zone Vijay Kumar told reporters here today.
He said neutralization of foreign terrorists and demolition of terror infrastructure would a priority in 2022.
Talking about the figure of 171 terrorists killed this year, he said the mark was reached after the overnight gunfight in Pantha Chowk area of Srinagar, which resulted in the killing of 3 terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
These three terrorists were a part of a brazen attack on a police bus at Zewan on the outskirts of Srinagar on December 13 in which 3 cops were killed and 10 injured.
Among the 171 terrorists killed this year, 19 were foreigners and 152 locals, Kumar said.
He said security forces recovered 127 rifles, including the American made five M-4 rifles, 167 pistols and a large quantity of ammunition from the slain terrorists.
He said next year’s challenge would be to deal with the “hybrid” terrorists, 25 of whomhave been identified.
He said the word ‘hybrid’ terrorist was coined in January 2021 and Google has accepted it.
Explaining the definition, the IGP said, “There is no record about them in police stations or with any sister agency. Even parents have no idea about them.”
It was observed through digital evidence that young boys carry out attacks on policemen and security forces.
“These boys aren’t categorized anywhere neither do we have their photographs in police stations,” the IGP said.
He said that the second major challenge will be to prevent policemen from becoming soft targets.
Talking about last night’s encounter, Kumar said the gunfight started when a joint team of Police and Central Reserve Police Force launched a cordon and a search operation in Pantha Chowk area following an input about the presence of terrorists.
“As the cordon was being laid, terrorists fired from inside a house, wounding three policemen and two CRPF men,” Kumar said.
The injured men were immediately shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital where they are stable.
Three dreaded terrorists were killed and one of them has been identified as Suhail Ahmad Rather who was involved in the attack of the police bus at Zewan on December 13, Kumar said.
The identity of the two others has not been established as yet, but they are most probably foreign terrorists, the top police officer said.
Describing it as “an important encounter for J&K Police”, the IGP said, “I had promised on December 13 evening after the attack on the police bus that the killers would be neutralized soon.”
He said the J&K police worked like a team and small input was developed, leading to last night’s successful encounter.