One army personnel was killed while two terrorists were gunned down during an ongoing operation in Bandipora's Panar area in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, as talks over the suspension of the Ramzan ceasefire escalated.
According to ANI, security forces launched a massive search and combing operation in the dense forest area to flush out other militants. Reports also suggested that the forces received a tip-off regarding the presence of some militants in the forest area.
#Visuals Jammu & Kashmir: One army personnel dead and two terrorists killed during an ongoing operation in Bandipora's Panar forest area. (Visuals deferred by unspecified time) pic.twitter.com/cYByGzFn6X
— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2018
Meanwhile, reports suggest that the Centre is not likely to extend the month-long ceasefire in place during Ramzan in Kashmir. But it may refrain from publicly announcing the resumption of operations, BJP sources told The Indian Express.
"The announcement on the halting of operations was till Ramzan, and the unilateral suspension will end on Eid. The government is unlikely to extend it because the Amarnath Yatra will begin within days, and we have to sanitise the corridors. We cannot keep the hands of the Army tied," said a top leader of the party.
Centre to decide on extension
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will take the final call on the extension of the unilateral ceasefire. The decision on whether or not to extend ‘Ramzan ceasefire’ until Amarnath Yatra, which is scheduled to begin on 28 June, will be taken by the Centre in a security meeting to be held at the Ministry of Home Affairs, MoneyControl reported.
"The decision regarding the extension of Ramzan ceasefire will be taken after proper consultation with the public representatives and reviewing the security situation. We need to review the security situation and other related matters at the highest level. It will be done soon and thereafter decision in connection with the extension of the ceasefire will be taken," Rajnath had told reporters.
The meeting will also take into consideration the slew of measures that need to be taken up ahead of the Amarnath Yatra.
Militants exploited Ramzan ceasefire
While incidents of stone pelting have reduced during the period of Ramzan ceasefire, recruitment of local youths by militant groups and incidents of grenade lobbying have risen alarmingly, according to a report in The New Indian Express.
According to the latest data compiled by the Centre, as many as 23 youths have been recruited by militant groups during the first 19 days of the ceasefire.
The data, accessed by The New Indian Express in the report, also shows that of the total number of grenade lobbying incidents reported in the month of May, more than 80 percent took place during the ceasefire period alone.
Defence experts, meanwhile, questioned the need for having a unilateral ceasefire in the Kashmir Valley during the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan, maintaining that this had been fully exploited by militants, according to a Business Standard report.
"Apparently, the opportunity that came their way by the way of unilateral ceasefire has been fully exploited by militants and separatists for conducting anti-India activities. It is time that security forces should be given free hand to do what they were doing earlier," an expert said.
"Bandipora lays abeam the principal communication artery that connects Srinagar t0 Kargil and border. So, this is one area where every day the convoys are moving up and down. This operation has been going on for the last six days," he added.
In a separate incident on Thursday, terrorists opened fire at a joint checkpoint of CRPF and Police near Pulwama's Gangoo, ANI reported.
Earlier, Lassipora police station in Pulwama came under attack after a group of militants hurled an Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) at it, Zee News reported.
Whereas, on Tuesday, a terrorist attack in the state’s Pulwama region resulted in the loss of lives of two police personnel, while injuring three others, as per Times Now. Militants also targeted a CRPF picket in Anantnag the same day, injuring 10 jawans in the process.
The ultras have especially upped the ante over the past week in Kashmir carrying out a series of grenade attacks on security forces and politicians.
According to a Hindustan Times report, up until the attack in Pulwama, Kashmir had witnessed 54 incidents of violence since the central government announced the Ramzan ceasefire. Most such attacks took place in the districts of south Kashmir.
The data collected by the home ministry indicates that militant-related incidents in the Kashmir Valley increased by more than 100 percent during the Ramzan ceasefire.
Before the ceasefire was announced, from 19 April to 16 May, there were 25 militant-related cases reported. But after the announcement, as many as 66 cases were reported between 17 May and 13 June.
During Ramzan, as many as 62 terror-related incidents were reported, which were initiated by militants, while six were initiated by security forces; 22 cases of grenade attacks were reported and 23 cases of indiscriminate firing by militants were reported.
Even attacks on civilians grew in number. Seven cases of attacks on civilians were reported during the 28 days of Ramzan. In the 28 days before the ceasefire, the figure was only six.
The militants have not let up after the imposition of the ceasefire violation. Here are some other reported incidents of ceasefire violations by militants after the Centre's order:
• An encounter broke out between security forces and militants in Shopian district on the day the ceasefire announcement was made by the Centre, police authorities told PTI.
• On 19 May, a gun-battle ensued between the army and the militants in Kupwara ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, PTI reported.
• Around 60 people received injuries on 25 May when security forces tried to disperse protesters after the Friday prayers near the Jamia Masjid, Srinagar, National Herald reported. In another incident, a civilian Bilal Ahmad Ganie was killed in Kakapora, Pulwama following a brief exchange of firing between the soldiers and militants.
• An army jawan and a civilian were killed on 28 May when terrorists attacked an army camp in militant-infested Pulwama district of South Kashmir, police said. PTI quoted police sources as saying that the militants attacked the camp of 50 Rashtriya Rifles at Kakapora, leaving a jawan seriously injured.
• On Tuesday, a grenade was hurled at a CRPF camp at Ladiyar in Tral area of Pulwama district. 10 paramilitary jawans were injured in the attack, a police official said.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jun 14, 2018 19:17:57 IST