July 2018 News

At Centre's Review Of Kashmir Violence, Some Not-So-Good News

17 July 2018
Neeta Sharma

New Delhi: Terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir have dropped over the last month after the state was placed under Governor NN Vohra but there are worrying signs. The terror attacks are better planned and the street protests, often in support of terrorists engaged in gun battles with the security forces, are on the increase, a senior government official told NDTV after review meetings at the Prime Minister's Office and the Union Home Ministry. The PMO is also learnt to have conveyed its concern at the increase in civilian deaths in firing to the home ministry. Seven people lost their lives during the past month as compared to four civilian casualties during the suspension of operations by security forces, commonly referred to as the Ramzan ceasefire. In all, statistics compiled by the Union Home Ministry indicate, the police had recorded 95 cases of stone throwing by civilians during the last month as compared to 90 incidents during the previous month. 'As soon as forces enter build up area and start doing cordon and search operations, the collateral damage increases in terms of casualties and stone pelting,' a security official said. Security forces say the crowds often leave them with no choice but to open fire, which leads to deaths. The casualties fuel more protests and deepen the sense of alienation. The state was placed under governor's rule after the BJP, which was running the state government in partnership with PDP's Mehbooba Mufti, pulled out of the coalition. One of the grounds cited by the BJP was the reluctance of the coalition government to give security forces a free hand to carry out operations. Officials say the change of regime does appear to have indicated some improvement. During the last one month, the police have registered 47 terror-related cases as compared to 80 during the Ramzan ceasefire. But when officials analysed the terror cases, it turned out that this was such great news after all. Nearly half of the 80 cases registered during the ceasefire were either of random firing or grenade attacks that do not require much of a planning or training. 'During the suspension of operations, a large part of the forces were confined to barracks... And the terrorists used to openly roam around in villages, and had a higher capacity to carry out these sneak attacks,' explains a senior officer who is in-charge of operations in valley.