“Operations were never suspended only relief was given to the common people,” Minister of State in PMO Jitender Singh told NDTV. Before Ramzan unilateral ceasefire, almost every day at least five cordon and search operations were taking place simultaneously, severely affecting daily lives of the local people.
“Extension of ceasefire suits both the BJP and PDP politically but will it be operationally viable is the call which the home minister will have to take,” a senior government official told NDTV.
Data available with the state administration shows that between January and May, as many as 68 terrorists have been eliminated by the forces despite 20 days of no operations. Out of the 68, only in south Kashmir, 53 have been killed and during Ramzan also seven were killed at the Line of Control. Last year figure stood at 52 for the same time period.
“Counter insurgency grid is functioning as it used to. In fact, the level of intelligence and spirit of operations have gone up,” a senior state police officer to NDTV.
As far as terror-related incidents are concerned, during the last 20 days of Ramzan, as many 28 cases have been reported but most of them are grenade and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) blasts.
“Terrorists have changed their tactics, now they want to remain anonymous,” a senior home ministry official told NDTV. “Call to suspend operations was taken from a position of strength. We have eliminated the top leadership of various tanzeems or groups and to fill this vacuum recruitments have also gone up,” the official said, adding that on an average almost 25 young men join various terror groups every month.
As of now, the state government’s numbers show that 68 had joined ranks with the terrorists and out of them 14 were killed and three came back to the mainstream. “Fresh recruitments should not bog us down as the calibre of new young recruits is not the same as the old hardened terrorists. The new ones would not get incubation period too as we keep looking out for them. We try to persuade them to come back and those of whom don’t just perish,” revealed a senior level officer in charge of operations in valley.
The trend of videos going viral of terrorists roaming freely with weapons and making appeals has also come down. After Burhan Wani, the Hizbul commander who was killed in July 2016, there was a deluge of such viral videos on social media.