257 terrorists killed, 260-300 active: Dilbag

DGP Dilbag Singh flanked by senior police officers addressing a press conference in Jammu on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
Excelsior Rakesh

DGP asks youth to focus on career

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Dec 31: : As many as 257 terrorists, highest in a decade, were killed across Jammu and Kashmir in 2018, Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said today, asserting that counter-insurgency operations would continue in the new year with major focus on strengthening border and hinterland security.
The DGP said 91 security personnel also laid down their lives fighting militancy in the State during the year which ended at a high note with smooth conduct of annual Amarnath yatra and elections to Panchayats and Municipalities after a long gap despite security concerns and challenges.

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Addressing a press conference at Police Headquarters this afternoon, the police chief shared his sentiment for the youth and asked them to focus on studies and their careers and not to indulge in violence by getting swayed by the propaganda sponsored by Pakistan and its stooges within and outside the valley.
“On militancy front, we have registered a major success by killing 257 terrorists this year which is highest in the past 10 years. The dead included top commanders of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfits. At the same time we have lost 91 security personnel including 45 policemen,” Singh said.
He said the State is faced with a three decades long insurgency which is consuming lives of people and that is very painful.
“Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism in the State, trained militants are sneaking from across the border, misguiding the local youth and forcing them into militancy,” Singh said, adding though the number of terrorists killed this year is more than the previous year’s, which showed the success of Counter-Insurgency Grid.
“After suffering heavily, the militants under frustration targeted the families of the policemen and killed civilians by branding them as informers but the civil society rose to the occasion and expressed their resentment,’’ he said.
Asked about the number of active militants in the State, the DGP said since militancy is Pakistan-sponsored, it is continuously making attempts to send as many ultras as it could to maintain the strength of the terrorists.
“The infiltration from across the border was sizable this year as well and despite neutralizing such a huge number of terrorists, there are still about 260-300 active militants present in the State. We are trying to further strengthen the border security as well as the security in the hinterland while the counter-insurgency operation will continue next year as well,” he said.
He asked religious leaders to talk about peace as “we have now enough of politics of violence”.
“We will not tolerate those who indulge in wrong activities and play with the career of our students who are interested in their studies and want better future,” he said.
“I want to ask the students to focus on their studies and careers and not to indulge in violence by getting swayed by propaganda sponsored by Pakistan and their cronies on this side and that side. Students are interested in studies but only need a peaceful atmosphere,” he said.
On the alleged harassment of a militant family in South Kashmir, Dilbag said “we have taken note of the incident and will look into it.”
However, he said there are two faces to every coin and if you do not investigate any militancy related incident you would not move forward but sometimes allegations do come. “If there is an issue of highhandedness, we will certainly look into it”.
On the looting of four weapons from policemen guarding a politician in Srinagar, he said “such incidents are not worth ignoring. Such incidents show our shortcomings and we are taking appropriate action in this case”.
In response to a question about various militant outfits joining hands and working in close coordination, he said “We too are working together- the police, army, CRPF, BSF and other forces. If they have come together it is part of their strategy but we will continue with our counter-insurgency operations to deal with them”.
He said the killing of large number of militants this year also indicated increase in violence though it is an achievement of sorts for the forces but at the same time the increase in the level of violence is a “concern for all of us”.
The State police chief said police is working on fixing problems with CCTV cameras in the winter capital Jammu and getting more gadgets and high tech equipments for improving security in the State.
“We are doing manual checks of vehicles and planning to get scanners. We are working on it,” he said.
On the misuse of social media by elements inimical to peace, he said a mechanism is in place but needed refinement to take on the challenges as various social media platforms are being run from Pakistan.
“We are trying to further improve our mechanism. Police has blocked many such platforms but those running these platforms manage to cause damage before getting blocked,” he said.
In response to another question about the activities of Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) along the borders, Dilbag said Army and BSF troops deployed on the Line of Control and the International Border are competent enough and taking due care of such things.
Terming the drug menace in the State as a “major challenge”, the DGP said smuggling and consumption of drugs has gone up this year even as police launched massive campaigns, arrested 1291 persons and recovering 28 kilograms of heroin, 362 kilograms of charas and Ganja and 19873 kilograms of opium and poppy straw this year.
“As many as 56 drug peddlers were also booked under Public Safety Act. We need to do more in this direction,” he said urging people from all walks of life to stand up and join hands with police to wipe out this menace.
He said crime chart in the State has shown a marginal increase with over 26,000 cases being registered this year compared to 25,500 last year.
Singh lauded traffic police for “commendable job” and said nine lakh vehicles were fined this year, generating a revenue of Rs 19 crore.
He said Criminal Investigation Department of the police has done 1.38 lakh passport verifications which is a record, while 30,000 service verification and LoC travel permit clearances were issued.
Singh said the Crime Branch of the State police completed most of the 101 special cases registered during the year, while praising the police hospital staff for provided treatment to 1.20 lakh patients, conducting 1.52 lakh diagnostic tests and 1800 minor and major surgeries.
The police chief listed various welfare measures for the police and the families of the martyrs of the force and said 5000 constables and 700 Sub-Inspectors were recruited while 786 Special Police Officers were promoted as constables.
He said 2000 SPOs are being recruited to enhance the Border Security Grid and help people during ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
He said police spent Rs 2.32 lakh on civic action programmes with focus on youth by engaging them in positive activities like sports.