On Thursday when five terrorists were gunned down in two separate encounters, it was a special moment. The number of terrorists killed in the Kashmir Valley has crossed 200.
Following the death of Burhan Wani, the situation in Kashmir went out of hand. The pelters were on the streets and terrorists formed a large part of the population. The Army and the Intelligence were worried as the situation was clearly going out of hand.
The Government of India was clear that it wanted terrorism wiped out and peace restored in the Valley. It gave the Army a clear hand to wipe out the mess in Kashmir.
With absolutely no political interference the security forces had a free hand. Political interference can be a dampener says an official who was part of this cleanup operation.
The free hand given to the forces also increased the enthusiasm of the local police who were most crucial in all these operations. It is the local police who have the best intelligence on terrorists operating in the Valley.
During these operations, the Hajin area was the key focus. Most of the terrorists operated in this area. The General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen JS Sandhu, said Hajin was an area of focus for the security agencies.
"Terrorists had resorted to some atrocities in the area. As a strategy, we had launched several operations in Hajin mid-September onwards. We were practically launching search operations on a daily basis. We had inducted Special Forces in the area and along with the intelligence network, police and the CRPF, the law and order in Hajin was brought under control. We were keeping a watch over the Chandrageer area for the last two-three days and yesterday based upon a specific input, the joint operation was launched in which six terrorists were eliminated", Lt General Sandhu said.
IGP, Kashmir, Munir Khan said the Lashkar leadership is sending their relatives to boost the morale of its cadres. "There is a leadership bankruptcy in the Lashkar and other organisations. In a way to motivate their cadres operating in the Valley, they started sending close relatives. It is nothing more than that," Khan said.
Top officers involved in the anti-militancy operation said they had plugged loopholes to ensure no repetition of the past as this group had managed to escape at least twice in recent months.