OGWs causing scare on security radar: DGP
SRINAGAR, Sept 11: Security forces today killed a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant who was involved in shooting of fruit growers in North Kashmir’s Sopore area last week and spread terror in the region.
Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh, said here that this morning on specific information, the police and security forces established a naka near Sopore town. “As this militant Asif Maqbool Bhat came, he was challenged to stop but he did not. He threw a grenade on our party in which couple of our police personnel were injured. In the encounter that ensued, the militant was neutralized”, he said.
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Singh said that Bhat was involved in the shooting of four people in Sopore area including a baby. “He was the same militant who had gone to the house of Haji Habbibullah, fired at his family members, injuring four of them including a little girl. He is the same militant who along with his other fellows went to a house where a migrant labourer was working, shot at him an injured him. His name was Shafi Alam, the boy was seriously injured and was brought to Srinagar, and I am told that he is stable”, he said.
The DGP said that the militant along with his two associates were involved in the terrorizing people in the area. “…he had created a lot of terror in the area of Sopore. Over the last month, he was very active. He was responsible for making use of OGWs to print and publish posters, threatening people not to do the fruit business, not to go for trading, not to open shops, not to go for normal day to day activities and we were watching these activities and we were after these people who were involved in this. And eight people who were involved in these kind of activities were apprehended by Sopore police along with computers and other instruments that they were using for printing those posters. This fellow (the militant), along with two others-Mudasir and Sajad-, three of them created terror in that area, roaming around the villages, threatening people not to go for their daily chores. So we were following him, tracking”, he said.
“With his killing, today in the morning at around 9, I believe that the area will have a sigh of relief. We are also after his two associates, we know them and we will see that in near future, we take care of them also. There have been incidents of physically manhandling of one or two fellows, telling them not to go for fruit tacking and fruit collection, but on our side the police is active, we are chasing them everywhere and we are hopeful that we will be able to neutralize such threats in south Kashmir”, he said.
Singh said that during past one month there has not been any serious law and order engagement in Kashmir. “Despite a number of law and order incidents of violence reported in the State, there was hardly any serious law and order engagement. Till yesterday, 184 of law and order engagements were there, of which not more than half a dozen of were such a nature where a little higher level of violence was seen in terms of stone pelting by the civilians. We have also tried to exercise a lot of restraint and that’s why the casualties on the civilian side have been absolutely nil, barring an incident wherein a stone pelter got injured in downtown and subsequently succumbed to his injuries. On the contrary we had incidents where the stone pelters caused injuries to the civilians and also a civilian death in Bijbehara wherein a truck driver got injured in stone pelting and subsequently died”, he said.
“During this period, we had militancy related incidents. Three persons were killed by the militants, two in Tral area-the Gujjar brothers who were somewhere in the Tral heights, taking care of their cattles, militants kidnapped them and killed both of them. Other than that, a shopkeeper in the city area of Parimpora was killed for not abiding the dictates by the militants. During this period, two militants have also been neutralized. Earlier, one was killed at Baramulla down town, and today in another incident one more has been killed”, he said.
Singh said that the State is near to normalcy as the clampdown imposed last month is gradually being withdrawn. “We are very close to the normalcy, and if you take the case, all the 10 districts of Jammu are normal, all the colleges and schools are functioning normally, all the offices are open and people are carrying on with their routine work. I have been to Leh and Kargil, it is all normal over there. There are no restrictions whatsoever in that area. In this region as well, we have tried to ease out the restrictions. As of now, there is 90 per cent of area which is free of restrictions. Telephone exchanges have been made functional 100 per cent. There are two districts where the mobile phones are also working now. We are considering more such restrictions as people have been very cooperative. Our experience here has been that Pak-sponsored elements have made very malicious kind of use of the social media platforms, it was only with a view of prevent such malicious propaganda, fake and false propaganda that such restrictions were imposed. We are conscious that such restrictions cause inconvenience to the people, but I would say safety and security is equally important. So if some restrictions have been able to prevent the loss of life and property, if they have helped in preventing any major law and order, then such restrictions were well justified, now we are relaxing the restrictions and we will relax them even more”, he said.
The DGP said that several people were arrested in South Kashmir for causing scare. “We are keeping a watch on the activities of some of the over ground workers, it is not only the militants that have caused a sense of scare in certain quarters but also the OGWs, who work with them by pasting the posters and conveying messages to the people. These people are also on our radar and we have picked up some people in South Kashmir areas and the investigation is still on and we won’t be able to comment much on that as I think it will take more time to come out with more details”, he said.
Singh said that there are attempts of infiltration from militants along the LoC and IB but security forces have foiled them. “There have been many reports of infiltration attempted in many areas, Rajouri-Poonch they tried, Gurez they tried, Karnah they tried, Gulmarg sector they tried, two persons who came via Gulmarg were apprehended by the Army who were later presented at a press conference. There are reports and we are trying to confront them, but the kind of activity across the LoC and the IB, large numbers of militants are brought to the launching pads. Certainly those kind of attempts are being made, but we are verifying as to how much of successful infiltrations could have taken place, but yes, there are reports, and there are no denying to the facts”, he said.
Singh said that the internet will be restored depending upon the improvement in the situation. “It is all dependent on the improvement in the situation; voice calls were gradually restored in Jammu region and were restored in the two districts of this region as well. The call is to be taken after reviewing the ground situation, so we are considering relaxing on voice calls-at least easing out the restrictions on the voice calls and subsequently we will see to what extent we can go without compromising on the maintenance of law and order”, he said.