Terror incidents down; civilian, security forces killings up

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 1: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said today that security scenario has improved and incidents of terrorism have gone down but the casualties of security forces and civilians have witnessed increase during first six months of this year as compared to the corresponding period of last year in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr Shinde said the Ministry of Home Affairs has deployed 90 companies of additional Central Armed Forces for smooth conduct of ongoing 55 days long annual pilgrimage to Shri Amarnath Ji shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas this year.
Presenting the report of Union Home Ministry on completion of his one year in the office today in the Union capital, Mr Shinde said majority of work of fencing and floodlighting along Indo-Pakistan border has been completed.
He said 35 leading companies have partnered with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to train more than 54,000 youth from J&K over next five years.
An exhaustive document presented to the media at the press conference, the Ministry of Home Affairs held by Mr Shinde since August 1, 2012, said: “the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved, the number of terrorist incidents have also declined but there is increase in the number of casualties of security forces and civilians during first six months of this year as compared to similar period last year”.
The increase in number of casualties of security forces was due to killing of eight Army personnel in one single ambush by the militants at Srinagar few days back besides targeted killing of police constables. The civilian killings have gone up due to targeting of Panchayat members by the militants.
The MHA document noted that in the month of December 2012 alone, Army and security forces eliminated 14 terrorists including eight foreign mercenaries, operating in Jammu and Kashmir. The slain ultras included a group of nine militants (two local and seven foreigners), who were involved in various attacks against security forces and were planning an attack in Srinagar City.
It said two slain militants were involved in Hotel Silver Star shoot out. Another killed militant was a Hizbul Mujahideen commander, who was wanted for his involvement in Delhi High Court blast case.
Pointing out that pilgrimage to holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath ji was progressing smoothly with over 3 lakh yatris having already performed darshan at the cave shrine located in South Kashmir Himalayas in Anantnag district, the Home Ministry said it has deployed 90 companies of additional Central Armed Police Forces to provide security to the pilgrimage.
“Adequate security arrangements as well as heavy deployment of security forces at base camps and enroute have been made to ensure incident free yatra,” it added.
It said the Ministry of Home Affairs has launched a scheme names `Special Industry Initiative’ (SSI) for Jammu and Kashmir known as `UDAAN’ in the nature of partnership between the corporates of India and Ministry of Home Affairs.
Asserting that the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is implementing the scheme, the MHA revealed that 35 leading corporate houses have partnered with NSDC to train more than 54,000 youth from the State over next five years.
“The partners of `UDAAN’ included leading Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) like NTPC, BHEL, BSNL, ONGC, HAL and Canara Bank and private companies such as Wipro, TCS, HCL Technologies, Infosys, Bajaj Allianz, CMC, Cognizant, Yes Bank, Future Learning, IL&FS, CII, Edusports, Religare, Accenture and TATA motors,” it said, adding that training of 382 candidates has been completed under `UDAAN’, out of which 185 have been offered job while remaining candidates were under the process of placement.
The MHA said 18 corporates made 32 visits to Jammu and Kashmir and selected 1305 candidates for training.
It pointed out that Mr Shinde after taking over as the Home Minister decided to visit all border areas of the country. As a part of his exercise, he visited Leh and Kargil, bordering China and Pakistan in Ladakh region including forward Border Out Post of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at Lukumbe along Indo-China border in Leh.
He referred to his meetings with Chief Executives of Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh and Kargil, Council members, top officials and prominent citizens for first hand account of the situation.
The MHA document also made a reference to his visit to Jammu and Kashmir including forward village of Suchetgarh in RS Pura sector, inspection of border fencing, inter-action with jawans guarding the border, Hazratbal shrine and Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district.
It also made a mention of Mr Shinde reviewing security scenario in the State at the Unified Headquarters meeting in Srinagar.
The MHA documents said the Government of India had sanctioned 2043.63 kilometers of fencing along Indo-Pakistan border out of which 1958.50 kilometers has been completed. Similarly, the Government had approved 2009.52 kilometers of floodlighting along Indo-Pakistan border, out of which 1900.92 kilometers has been completed.
Meanwhile, Mr Shinde said the recent incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir will be overcome shortly as people of the State are in favour of peace.
“There has been little trouble of late, but I am sure it will be controlled soon,” he said.
Asked about reports of increased infiltration from across the border, the Home Minister said there were intelligence reports warning about spurt in attempts by terrorists to cross LoC and that were being countered by security forces.
“There have been encounters at the border and our alert forces are thwarting all attempts by terror groups,” he said.
To a question on the number of violent incidents being low in Jammu and Kashmir in the post-Afzal Guru hanging period, Mr Shinde said he was thankful to the people of the State in this regard.
“I am grateful to the people of Kashmir for maintaining calm in the valley. At the same time I would like to reiterate that people of Kashmir want peace,” he said.
Asked about the fate of the proposed anti-terror body National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Mr Shinde said he as well as his predecessor P Chidambaram had tried their best to evolve a consensus on the issue but failed.
“I have tried. My predecessor had tried. I held two meetings with the Chief Ministers. We have separated (the power to carry out) operations from NCTC but still they (Chief Ministers) did not agree. What else can we do?,” he asked.
Asked for his comment on the Supreme Court’s order for disqualification of convicted legislators, Mr Shinde said the Government will soon make a statement on the issue.
He said the Centre has asked all States to tighten security in sensitive places as communal elements may try to create trouble ahead of Eid.
“We have told all States to be alert, to be careful. The communal forces may create trouble,” Mr Shinde said.
Asked whether he had taken steps for release of jailed Muslim youth accused of terror charges, the Home Minister said he had ordered gathering of information about such youth.
“We are getting information…How many of them are in judicial custody, how many are in police custody, where are they etc., etc. We are working on it,” he said.

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