The improvement in the overall situation in Kashmir valley remains elusive even after 26 days of the Governor’s rule in the State with the Valley witnessing 34 killings in militancy-related violence.
On June 20 when Governor Narinder Nath Vohra took over the reins of the State government after BJP pulled out support from its coalition government with PDP, a major gunfight in Tral, Pulwama left three militants dead, marking the first successful anti-militancy operation in the hinterland post withdrawal of Non-Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO) or ceasefire from the state.
Among the slain militants, two were locals, Adil Ahmad of Midoora village of Tral, and Danish Ahmad of Pinglish village of Tral in Pulwama while the third one was a Pakistani militant Qasim.
They were associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit that has carried daring Fidyaeen attacks on the establishments of the government forces.
As the anti-militancy operations resumed, the cycle of violence returned and civilians began to fall to the bullets again in the Governor’s rule alongside militants and government forces’ personnel during the gunfights.
The data analysis suggests that there has been no reduction or increase in the number of killings or any virtual change or improvement in the overall ground situation in Kashmir even after the change in government in the State.
Adil, who survived just two days in militant ranks and Danish, a 23-day-old militant are among 34 persons—militants, government forces and civilians – killed in various violence-related incidents during the 26 days from June 20 to July 14 of the Governor’s rule in the State.
Of the slain 34 persons, 15 were militants followed by 12 civilians and seven government forces personnel including four policemen, two paramilitary CRPF men and an Army commando.
Before the Governor’s rule, during 22 days from April 24 to 15 May, when the PDP-BJP government was in command, at least 35 persons, majority of them civilians were killed in different violence-related incidents in the Valley.
According to the data, of those slain 35 persons, 16 were civilians including a political activist, followed by 14 militants, and four government forces personnel including a paramilitary CRPF man and an Army man.
On May 6, one of the biggest gunfights at Badigam in volatile Shopian district left five Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants including a top militant commander, Saddam Padder and an assistant professor-turned militant, Muhammad Rafi dead.
Six civilians were also killed in the firing by the government forces at protestors near the gunfight site.
The civilian have been killed mostly during gunfights despite the Governor’s recent directions to the government forces to “minimise civilian causalities” while carrying out operations against militants.
“There has been no operational change in anti-militancy drills. The operations against militants are going on in the same way as earlier. We have been warning people not to come near gunfight sites. But, in certain areas youth defy warnings and it leads to unwanted incidents sometimes,” said an official working in the anti-militancy grid.
For the past many years, Kashmir has been witnessing a dangerous trend of youth risking their lives to break the cordon of the government forces by resorting to stone pelting at troops near gunfight sites to help militants escape.