NEW DELHI: Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists Abu Dujana and Arif Lilhaari were the 115th and 116th terrorists to be killed in Jammu & Kashmir this year. As per official figures shared by top sources in the security establishment, 114 terrorists were eliminated in the Valley state until July 31 this year, as against 92 in the corresponding period of 2016.
Interestingly, as many as 22 terrorists were killed in July 2017 alone, going by the official figure of 92 terrorists neutralised until July 2, also first put out by the TOI.
The figure of 116 terrorists killed till August 1, 2017 way exceeds the 72 and 67 terrorists eliminated in J&K in all of 2012 and 2013 respectively, when the UPA government was in power. The numbers picked up during the NDA’s tenure, touching 110 in 2014, 108 in 2015 and 150 in 2016. “Terrorists killed so far this year have already surpassed the figure for 2014 and 2015. Given the security establishment’s resolve to keep up the heat on J&K terrorists in the days and months to come, all with due political backing, the figure for 2017 is expected to cross 150 terrorist killings recorded last year,” said a home ministry official.
The killing of Abu Dujana on Tuesday, being described as one of the biggest successes for counter-terror forces in Kashmir, is in keeping with the Centre’s overall policy to go all out against terrorists with intelligence-based operations that must be taken to their logical end even if they face local resistance.
“The government’s approach on Kashmir is a three-pronged one: concerted action against terrorists leading to their elimination where they refuse to surrender, notwithstanding local protests around encounter sites; parallel crackdown on Hurriyat separatists linked to terror funding and a softer attitude towards local civilians so that they don’t feel alienated or victimised,” a home ministry official said, adding that this approach shall continue in the times to come.
Sources in the government said the pressure on terrorists will be stepped up further, with definite plans to eliminate other high-value terrorists like LeT’s Abu Ismail, who is likely to take Dujana’s place in south Kashmir, and former Hizbul leader and now al-Qaida-linked Zakir Musa. With useful human intelligence being generated by the J&K police sources on the ground and good coordination among the police, CRPF and Army, the Centre is optimistic of inflicting reverses on terrorists in J&K.