Shailesh Kumar, National Defence,
New Delhi, 02 April 2018
According to highly placed sources in security establishment, intelligence inputs started trickling in on 31 March 2018 at about 3PM onwards. Inputs for Dialgam of Anantnag were corroborated by 5PM, a swift move by 19 RR and contact was established by sunset. Every effort was made to get both the terrorists surrender. One terrorist was killed and one was caught alive. Inputs for Dragad and Kachchdora villages of Shopian got corroborated by 11PM and by 3AM on 1 April; contacts were established by 44 RR and 34 RR. Appeals to surrender were ignored and the hardened terrorists probably thought that they would be able to escape and vanish in the veil of darkness. House to house clearance took time and in Dragad and Kachchdora, with very miniscule collateral damage, seven and five terrorists respectively were neutralised. Three brave- hearts of 34 RR were martyred.
All three joint operations were well synergized and well-coordinated operations. Lieutenant General AK Bhatt, Corps Commander of XV Corps stated that Sunday was a ‘Special Day’ as ‘they avenged the killing of Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz Parry, whose bullet ridden body was found in Herman Shopian in May last year’. The Kashmir Police Chief SP Vaid has termed it ‘as the biggest counter-offensives in recent times’. But in this operational momentum forces made genuine attempt for apprehension and surrender. There was vigorous attempt to bring about surrender of the terrorists in the operation carried out in Dialgam, Anantnag. In the Dialgam operation, communication was established with the local militant through his parents for one and half hour to convince him to surrender before the actual gunfight. And only when such efforts were ignored then only the iron fists were let loose.
Even in this operational exigency, restraint was visible as the collateral damage had been negligible. One house only in Kachchdora got damaged and rest everywhere civil property remained out of harms’ way. In Kachchdora, operations were in dense populated areas, optimum care was taken for evacuation of civilians trapped in the area. In Kachchdora operation, where five militants were neutralized, operation was halted till all civilians were evacuated and likely hostage situation was averted.
Kachchdora saw an adverse internal security situation in which at least 5-6 policemen were injured in stone pelting. Even in Dragad, messages on social media were moved giving out that top terrorists were trapped with an aim to mobilize more and more resistance by locals. The situation was dealt appropriately, giving out a strong message that the operations would not stop and all offensive measures would be taken in case people do not refrain from throwing stones and interfere with freedom of operations by security forces.
According to sources, counter terrorist operations have one clear focus and that is ‘to bring down number of terrorists below the minimum sustainable level so that they do not interfere in the local governance’. The forces achieve the aim by:-
- Kinetic operations to neutralise existing terrorists.
- Check infiltration so that number of terrorists doesn’t go up.
- Apprehension, surrender and check any further recruitment.
Security forces in Kashmir have been working on these strategies in the most assertive manner. Intent of Security Forces were well explained in the press conference on 01 April 2018.
Lieutenant General AK Bhatt, Corps Commander of XV Corps conveyed a clear message on 1 April 18 in which he stated ‘I appeal to the youth to shun the path of violence as anyone who picks up the gun will be neutralised in kinetic operations such as today’.
DGP, J&K Police on 1 April 18 stated ‘in a special measure to convince one of the terrorists, the local SSP called his family to ask him to leave his weapon. He however did not agree and was killed in the operation’.
IGP, CRPF on 1 April 18 stated ‘we have witnessed unprecedented law and order situation wherein there have been protests near the encounter sites. We handled the situation with restraint and advice people not to be present near the encounter site and disrupt the Security Forces operations’.
Kashmir is yearning for peace as deaths and funerals have brutalized the society. Many parents have appealed to their sons who had joined terrorism and some of them have come back to mainstream. Pursuing agenda of Pakistan by local youths is fraught with danger as the intent of security forces is clear and unambiguous. Should they choose path of sanity, they have development and happiness. If they don’t, then they go deep into the abyss of guile and illusion conjured by devilish Pakistan.
Surely, these messages are being listened and very soon echoes will have the sanity and prudence. Let the hope and dreams live on.