Out of 25 Police districts in J&K, 11 are militancy-free
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: Armed insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir has passed through thick and thin and completed the quarter of a century but, according to an official document prepared by the State government, it has fallen to the lowest ebb exactly in its 25th year in 2014. On January 1, 2015, as many as 11 Police districts in the State were completely militancy-free even as 90 militants were “active” in the Valley and 15 more in Jammu division.
Compiled by the State Crime Records Bureau of the J&K Crime Branch, an organisation of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, and released by Director General of Police K. Rajendra Kumar last fortnight, ‘Crime Gazette 2014’ claims that by the end of 2014, total number of the “active militants” had reduced to the all-time low of 105. Significantly, it records, that not a single “active militant” exists in Kashmir’s Budgam, Ganderbal and Bandipore districts besides Jammu division’s Jammu, Udhampur, Reasi, Poonch, Doda and Samba districts.
While as there has been no militancy in the twin districts of Kargil and Leh in Ladakh, all the remaining 23 Police districts—13 in Kashmir and 10 in Jammu—do still figure as “Disturbed”, the fundamental requirement for enforcement of the Jammu and Kashmir State Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act [AFSPA]. With the exception of BJP and Congress, besides some insignificant outfits based in Jammu, all the mainstream political parties have been pleading for revocation of AFSPA in a competition with the separatist and the militant groups and conglomerates.
According to the Crime Gazette, in the entire Central Kashmir there are just 2 listed and wanted militants—both in Srinagar district. There is none in Budgam and Ganderbal. However, there are 247 “overground workers”, or “OGWs” (supporters of separatist insurgency who organise protests, demonstrations besides arson and stone-pelting but do not wield weapons or indulge in subversive activities). Of them, 104 are in Srinagar, 76 in Budgam and 67 in Ganderbal district.
Crime Gazette says there were total of 832 OGWs in Kashmir—247 in Central Kashmir, 361 in North Kashmir and 224 in South Kashmir. In Jammu division, there were 772 OGWs—maximum of 210 in Reasi, 141 in Doda, 133 in Kishtwar but not a single in Jammu and Samba districts.
With the 11 districts being “militancy-free”, there are 10 such districts where the total number of the “active militants” is less than 10 in each district—Kulgam (9), Kupwara (7), Pulwama (6), Baramulla (5), Srinagar (2) and Anantnag (2) in Kashmir and Rajouri (5), Ramban (4), Kishtwar (3) and Kathua (3) in Jammu. In other words, total number of the militants in these 10 districts is 46.
Crime Gazette makes it clear that the armed insurgency has finally shrunk to the Valley’s Sopore-Handwara belt (in North Kashmir) and Pulwama-Awantipore belt (in South Kashmir). Interestingly, with the exception of Sopore and Langet segments, which returned Congress candidate Ab Rashid and independent Engineer Rashid respectively in the Assembly elections of 2014, all the elected MLAs from the two militant hotbeds belong to the ruling coalition. While as Peoples Conference represents Handwara, PDP represents Sangrama, Rafiabad, Pattan, Pulwama, Rajpora, Pampore and Tral.
The PDP-BJP-PC coalition’s MLAs from Handwara (Sajjad Lone), Sangrama (Basharat Bukhari), Pattan (Imran Raza Ansari) and Rajpora (Haseeb Drabu) are also Cabinet Ministers in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government.
The document lists Awantipore (18), Sopore (17), Handwara (13) and Shopian (11) as the State’s most militant-infested Police districts.
Crime Gazette claims that on January 1, 2015, there were 18 listed and wanted militants in Awantipore Police District. It includes Pampore and Tral belts of South Kashmir where the Army’s counterinsurgency ‘Victor Force’ has also its headquarters. Together with 6 active militants of Pulwama district and 11 more of Shopian district, this Jamaat-e-Islami-dominated strip continues to be the Valley’s topmost flashpoint. Even in the current year, maximum incidents, including killings, have been reported from here.
Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed’s home district of Anantnag in South Kashmir had just 2 “active militants” in the beginning of the current year.
The government documents have identified Awantipore, Tral, Pampore, Pulwama and Shopian in South Kashmir as the top flashpoints besides Sopore and Palhalan (Pattan) in North Kashmir.
Senior Police officials told STATE TIMES that the “active militants” include around a dozen of the foreigners (Pakistani nationals) who often die in the security forces’ encounters but maintain a level with continued infiltration from across the LoC.
“However, the most disturbing information is the fact that at least 18 young boys have been indoctrinated and inducted into their ranks by the commanders of LeT and Hizbul Mujahideen in Pulwama district in the last 4 months”, said an official. He pointed out that the two Policemen, who were posted in the security of a BJP leader and the PDP leader and R&B Minister Altaf Bukhari but deserted and joined the militant ranks recently, were also residents of the same area of South Kashmir.