Kashmiri Militants Change Tack, Now Prefer Point Blank Killings

5 November 2009
The Hindustan Times
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: Suicide attacks, grenade launches or ambushing security personnel are now passé. Militants in Kashmir, of late, are instead using small crack teams of sharpshooters armed with small arms to kill their quarries from point blank range. On Monday, a two-member team came within 10 meters to 15 meters of two policemen on duty at the city’s busy hub of Qamarwari and shot them dead in broad daylight. The assailants were in their early twenties and were using Chinese-made weapons, police sources said. This killing from near point-blank range was the fourth such instance in the last three months, in which nine security personnel have died. “Whenever militants are under pressure they resort to such things. Militants use sharpshooters to demoralise police and security forces,” said Kashmir Inspector General of Police (IGP), Farooq Ahmad vowing to track and punish the killers. Police claimed to have killed sharpshooter of the Hizbul Mujahideen in Pattan area last month. Of late there has been a rise in point blank attacks by militants. They have scaled down grenade attacks and for about a year or so. There have been no Fidayeen attack or suicide attack either, according to a senior police official. The militants work in two-men or three-men modules (dubbed Buddy Pair or ‘Small-is-Smart-Technique by security forces) as a strategy that is aimed at increasing operational efficiency. “By constituting such small modules, militants stop leakage of plans,” said a police officer requesting anonymity for security reasons. From close range they can also kill people wearing bulletproof jackets he said citing the instance of August 31 in which a CRPF jawan was shot in the neck, again from up close. Police battling this new trend fear the winter, already set in. The heavy clothing people wear would make it easier for the militants to ferry arms with ease, the police official said.