Peace still eludes Kashmir, killings continue unabated

Peace still eludes Kashmir, killings continue unabated

Afaq Bhat
Srinagar, Dec 20: Despite stone-pelting incidents witnessing a decline in 2017, the killings in Kashmir have not stopped.
According to the figures provided by the Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir in Lok Sabha, as many as 318 people were killed in Kashmir in the current year.
In 337 militancy related incidents 203 militants, 75 security personnel and 40 civilians have lost their lives in different incidents, Ahir informed the parliament.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmirsaid, “Kashmir did not witness any major agitation this year. There was considerable decrease in the number of street protests and stone pelting incidents but the militancy related incidents have witnessed a tremendous increase during this year.”
He said, “The biggest concern for the security agencies has been increase in the number of local youth joining the militant ranks and the protests which were witnessed on numerous occasions near the sites of gunfight.”
A police official, who wished not to be named said, “Our repeated attempts to ensure that local militants join the mainstream and they give up the guns have not materialized fully. We have succeeded in roping a few youth but there are still many local youth who have not given up the arms.”
He said, “Even during encounters we give enough chance to local militants to surrender and we try our best not to kill them. Strategy has worked at some places but not everywhere.”
A leader of ruling Peoples Democratic Party said, “Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has passed strict instructions to the Police and other security agencies to ensure that local militants are brought back into the mainstream and every attempt should be made to catch them alive. She has even doubled the incentive for force personnel for catching a militant alive.”
He said, “The policy of our government is clear we want to somehow bring the youth back. We don’t want to lose them. We feel the pain of their parents. No one wants them to die.”
A leader of opposition National Conference said, “Since the day PDP and BJP joined have hands in Jammu and Kashmir violence has increased manifolds. The militancy which was at its lowest ebb during the NC-Cong regime has resurfaced and has emerged as a big threat. The killings in militancy related incidents this year have been highest during the past four years.”
He said, “The volatile situation in Kashmir has devastated the Tourism industry. In fact inflow of tourists into Kashmir has been almost zero during the current year. It seems that nineties have returned as frequent cordon and search operations have become a routine in the Valley.”