226 terrorists killed in J-K since 2020, stone-pelting reduced drastically: CRPF18 March 2021
New Delhi: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Thursday said 226 terrorists were killed during operations in Jammu and Kashmir since 2020, while 296 were apprehended. CRPF Director General (DG) Kuldiep Singh said stone-pelting incidents in the Kashmir Valley have 'reduced drastically', although they have not stopped completely. The stone-pelting incidents have now been reduced to 10 per cent of what it used to be earlier, he said while addressing a press conference on the eve of the forces' 82nd anniversary. 'In Jammu and Kashmir, where the force works in close coordination with the state police and the Indian Army, 215 terrorists were neutralised in 2020 and 11 terrorists were killed this year,' Singh said. 'Only a few days back, we neutralised four terrorists in two different operations. This included top Jaish commander Sajjad Afghani who was neutralised in Shopian in a joint operation,' the DG said. During the same period, 296 terrorists were apprehended by the security forces while eight surrendered. Singh said the CRPF recovered 378 arms and 41 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), while 275 encounters-attacks took place during the same time period. Asked about the threat posed by 'sticky bombs' in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, 'While frisking a vehicle, we keep in mind the threat of sticky bombs. Although, we have not seen any such incident where we found sticky bombs attached to a vehicle. But yes, it is a challenge, we know it, they (terrorists) might try to use it and we have briefed our forces about it.' He said at the instance of an accused, a few sticky bombs were recovered from some areas. The DG said normalcy has been restored to a large extent in Jammu and Kashmir. 'Earlier, there were restrictions on internet usage but now they have been lifted,' Singh said. The 1986-batch West Bengal cadre IPS officer said extra forces that were sent to the Union Territory for the DDC elections have now returned and the normal deployment of the force remains as it is. About 265 companies of all the CAPFs or paramilitary forces have returned from Jammu and Kashmir, he said. Asked about some houses getting destroyed in Kashmir during encounters with militants and if there is any policy to avoid damage to civilian houses, he said, 'This is not an issue of policy. Our experience is if the militant is from the same village where the engagement is taking place, a very large number of people gather, stone-pelting is done, arson takes place to deter the forces from the engagement which is taking place and as there is lot of arson, there are chances that there is some bit of incident of fire which will take place.' 'So in this case, they themselves put fire so that they get a chance to escape from the cordon laid by the security forces and the CRPF has a unique capability to fight on both the fronts, facing forward with lethal weapons and towards the rear or on the side of the crowd with non-lethal weapons,' the newly-appointed DG said. On arrangements being made for the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra, Singh said last year, the yatra did not happen and since this year it is taking place, arrangements would be made for peaceful and smooth conduct of the yatra. Replying to a question of income-tax being levied on the ration money allotted to personnel, Singh said there is 'no decision' from the higher authorities so far. The DG said 80 CRPF personnel have succumbed to COVID-19 till now. Talking about the Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected states, he said there has been a significant reduction in the cases of maoist violence. 'With our persistent operations and capacity building, we have pushed the maoists into corners and restricted their activity,' Singh said. 'We make short-term, medium-term and long-term plans to contain Naxalism and assess the situation accordingly and introduce mid-course corrections as well,' he said. The CRPF DG said 32 maoists were neutralised in 2020 and five were killed in 2021.