Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh on Thursday said that the Covid pandemic has affected the anti-militancy operations in the disputed region to some extent.
The police chief, however, said that the anti-militancy operations are not on a halt and it was not like police have given a free hand to militants to roam around as operations are being conducted on the basis of “specific inputs” in areas.
Talking to media in Kulgam, after touring many South Kashmir areas to review the security measures, the DGP said that during the review, special focus was laid on enhancing the anti-militancy operations across South Kashmir.
“Covid-19 pandemic has affected anti-militancy operations to some extent. But it is not like we are leaving areas free for militants to roam around. Many policemen and security forces personnel have tested positive for the virus,” the DPG said.
He said that despite the fact that police is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and enforcing lockdown through its deployments on roads and streets across the Valley, “specific lead-based anti-militancy operations” are being conducted in the South and other parts of Kashmir.
Replying to a query that whether the local militant recruitment has gone down, the DGP Singh said that police never wants boys to join militancy. “Police have been working hard to prevent misguided youth to return. In Kulgam, a group of youth who were about to join militancy were brought back and united with their families,” he said, adding that “similarly, in other districts of south Kashmir, many such groups were prevented from treading a wrong path.”
However, the DGP said that militant outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Al-Badr are getting “oxygen” from across the LoC to lure new boys into the militancy fold.
“Unfortunately, the recruitment is still taking place, but the graph is very less compared to previous years,” he said.
“Police have been doing a lot on this front to plug it completely and I believe more steps need to be taken to stop it fully.”
He said that police have been able to persuade a lot of youth even during live encounters to surrender. “Young boys get ready to surrender but older ones aren’t ready. Efforts are on from our end to reach out to misguided youth to help them come back,” he said. About the total number of militants active in South Kashmir, DGP Singh said that since the number of militants keeps on fluctuate with time, at present there are about 100 odd militants active in southern districts of Kashmir.
He said the role of the police force is getting double with each passing year as new offices are being set up, new posts being created and new equipment being installed at police stations. “DPLs are being enhanced on modern lies and staff to being equipped with latest gadgets. The police force will soon get the latest weaponry as well,” the J&K police chief said.