It was probably one of the biggest operations carried out by the Indian Army in recent times at Kashmir. 12 terrorists were gunned down while 3 Army jawans were martyred in encounters conducted across south Kashmir.
The operation was an important one on several counts considering that the terrorists were planning on upping the ante in the Valley. More importantly in the killing of the terrorists which included top commanders, the brutal killing of Lt Umar Fayaz was avenged.
Post the encounter, in a joint presser of the Army, police and CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief, S P Vaid said that this is one of the biggest counter-offensives in recent times in the Valley. Out of the 12 terrorists killed, 11 have been identified. They are all locals, the police said.
Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that this was an important operation. The terrorists had begun to once again raise their ugly head in the Valley. The terrorists killed in the encounters were locals and they were planning to create an another unrest in the Valley.
The Hizbul Mujahideen has been under immense pressure since the past couple of months. There were even reports that its chief Sayed Salahuddin was asked to step down as the group was under-performing in the Valley. The Hizbul Mujahideen in fact was asked to step up the heat in the Valley in a bid to give the foreign terror groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayiba a break.
Informed sources said that this operation was aimed at breaking the back of the Hizbul Mujahideen. The very fact that top commanders of the outfit such as Rouf Khandey were killed speaks volumes about the operation.
Such encounters are likely to continue to several months more. Intelligence reports estimate the presence of 215 terrorists in the Valley. While on one hand, Pakistan would attempt to push more terrorists through the Line of Control and International Border, the locals too have been asked to step up operations. Operations in the days to come would look to target the local terrorists who have refused to surrender or give up arms, the source also added.
The Indian Army launched an offensive in March to target terrorists. March witnessed a high number of incidents.
- On March 4, in an incident reported at Shopian, two Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists and four civilians suspected to be overground workers were killed in an encounter.
- On 12th March, three terrorists were killed in an encounter at South Kashmir.
- In an encounter that took place on March 20 and 21, five security personnel were martyred. They included three Army jawans and two police personnel. Five terrorists part of the attack at Kupwara were gunned down by the forces.
- On March 23, two Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists were killed by security forces at Anantnag.
- On March 24, a Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist was killed at Budgam.
- Four terrorists were killed in an encounter at the Sunderbani area on March 28.
- On March 29, a policeman was martyred in a terror attack. His wife was critically injured in the attack.
- On March 31, a policeman was martyred in a terror strike that took place in Pulwama.