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43 militants killed in Kashmir in 4 months
5/12/2019 11:47:17 PM
Early Times Report

Srinagar, May 12: As many as 43 militants have been killed in Kashmir from January 2019 till date . According to official data, Pulwama witnessed ten encounters in which 22 militants were killed, while 21 militants were eliminated in a similar number of encounters in Shopian.
The twin districts came under the radar of security forces immediately after the killing of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, in July 2016.
The arrival of new-age militancy in Kashmir was marked by a Facebook photo of Burhan and his comrades, that was taken in Turkwangam village of Shopian in July 2015. Burhan posed with 12 of his associates, carrying assault rifles and with faces unmasked.
After the killing of Burhan, the twin districts remained out of bounds for security forces due to the relentless protests that went on for nearly seven months, with militants seen moving around freely and posting their videos as well.
Such is the fear of militants in the two districts that less than 3% voters exercised their franchise in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. Pulwama and Shopian are part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency.
A top police official said the twin districts were on the radar of security agencies to ensure that top leadership of militants is wiped out. "During summers, dense apple orchards and nearby forests give militants an advantage, as they often give a slip to security forces when cordon-and-search-operations (CASOs) are launched," he said.
However, the officer said, after the security forces launched an offensive against militants since 2017, space is shrinking for them in the two districts. "Not only has local recruitment come down, but there has been a drastic decline in protests by civilians during gunfights and funerals of militants," he said and added that the flow of local intelligence is also at an all-time high.
Last week, Ishfaq Sofi, a local militant of Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) was killed in an encounter. Sofi alias Abdullah Bhai, a resident of northern Sopore town and close aide of Zakir Musa, was killed by security forces in a gun battle in Amshipora village of Shopian on Friday.
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