Government employees scuffle with policemen during a demonstration in Srinagar yesterday. Police detained dozens of employees.
Srinagar: Militant activity in Jammu and Kashmir has been higher in the beginning of 2014 and 11 terrorists have been killed and 13 apprehended so far this year, the army said here yesterday.
Srinagar-based 15th Corps commander, Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh said that last year the first terrorist was killed in April, but this year, it happened on January 7.
“So far, we have eliminated 24 terrorists of whom 11 have been killed and 13 were apprehended,” he said, noting militant activity in the beginning of this year has been higher in Kashmir as compared to last year.
All the 13 arrested guerrillas are locals, he said.
“The army always gives all (terrorists) the possible chances to surrender. We don’t fire at them till they fire on us,” he said, stressing that the army is committed to ensure human rights while carrying out anti-militancy operations.
The corps commander said with melting of winter snow and opening up of mountain passes, there would be more attempts by the guerrillas to sneak into the Kashmir Valley.
“The army faces multiple challenges confronting the security grid in Kashmir during the current year as there might be increased infiltration attempts in view of the depleting militant leadership and the forthcoming elections, but I am prepared,” he said.
About the forthcoming Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly elections schedule this year, Lieutenant General Singh said: “We will be very much concerned about providing environmental security for the election process.”
He parried a query whether the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan would impact the security situation in Kashmir.
“There are regional dynamics of the security situation. The counter-infiltration grid is in place.
“We are ready for it. As security force, I got to be ready for any security challenge. And for that assessment of the threat and preparedness are important dynamics.”
Speaking about last year’s Keran operation which became controversial following varying statements by the defence spokespersons, the corps commander said it was a large scale infiltration attempt from multiple points by the militants which was foiled successfully.