Killing Militants Not Something Worth Celebrating: DGP

Praises govt forces for ‘restraint’

Srinagar: The number of militants killed last year was not something to be celebrated as a success, the Jammu and Kashmir police chief said on Wednesday, even as he praised government forces for minimizing “collateral damage” by exercising “maximum restraint” during counter-insurgency operations.

Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said the police was “pained” to see a spike in local youth joining militancy and getting killed in encounters in 2018, Kashmir’s bloodiest year in a decade. Without naming Pakistan, he slammed the country for “inciting Kashmiri youth to violence.”

“2018 was good as the law and order situation remained peaceful to a large extent but incidents of violence saw a spike due to every effort of our neighbouring country to incite youngsters and push them towards militancy besides infiltration,” Singh said.

However, he said, the killing of militants in gunfights with forces was not something that should be celebrated.

“It wouldn’t be right to call these killings as a success. Statistically speaking, you can say that it has been a successful year but in terms of levels of violence, the situation was very bleak. Whether it is the killing of militants, civilians or forces’ personnel, any loss of life is disturbing,” he said.

The police chief also praised government forces for showing “maximum restraint” during anti-insurgency operations, saying there was no “collateral damage” in 83 of 97 such operations.

“During some encounters people got too close and clashed with forces, resulting in loss of lives,” he said.

“I once again appeal to the youth that life is very precious and it should not end like this,” he said.

The DGP also termed as “encouraging” the high number of aspirants showing up for police recruitment rallies and participating in sports, cultural and educational activities.

Commenting on the recent Jamia Masjid controversy DGP Singh said that ISIS outfit is not much in the valley, however, a section of youth is being radicalized.

“In the past also, carrying those (IS) flags and displaying them publicly to show that there is a very large presence of such elements…we would again say that presence (of IS) is not that big but the fact that people are being radicalized on those lines that can’t be denied,” Singh said while addressing a news conference in Srinagar.

He said that some elements were making serious efforts to radicalize a section of the youth “to the extent possible”.

“Kashmir civil society has been as such an open society, a very secular kind of culture where we extend due respect to our places of worship. Such efforts (of radicalization) had been made at various quarters and their expression has been seen in the kind of activities we saw other day (at Jamia Masjid),” said Singh.

He said that 2006 road accidents related cases were also registered during the year, in which 272 people died. In 225 cases people died in 4 wheelers, 46 in two-wheelers, and one in a three-wheeler. “2551 people have sustained injuries”. He said that there were 143 domestic cases registered, in which 89 cases were closed up. 762 burglary cases were also registered”. (GNS)