Army Claims Success With More Ultras Surrendering In J&K
18 January 2006
The Indian Express
Srinagar: There has been a sharp rise in the number of militants who surrendered in Jammu and Kashmir and many other ultras are unwilling to continue on the path of violence due to sustained pressure from security forces. The number of surrenders has increased dramatically in the last two months, defence sources said. They said 50 per cent of the militants had laid down arms while 10 per cent of their leaders gave themselves up due to sustained pressure from security forces. Lack of finance, local support, arms, ammunition, infrastructure as well as fear and uncertainty amongst the leadership were the key factors for their unwillingness to continue on the path of violence, the sources said. They said the three-pronged strategy adopted by the Army-maintaining a check on infiltration, relentless operations against militants in the hitherland and winning of hearts of the people through active participation in the development process- -has paid handsome dividends. Concerted attempts towards infiltration continued despite the increased vigil and deterrence with the help of LoC fence which helped the anti-infiltration drive, the sources said. They said though lesser infiltration attempts were recorded last year, more number of militants were killed as compared to the previous year. In consonance with second component of the strategy, a large number of militants were killed in operations with Jammu and Kashmir police, they said. Also a large number of militants were apprehended or they surrendered maximum operations were launched on receipt of precise information about whereabouts and activities of the militant cadres given by local informers, defence sources said. They said selective targeting of militant leadership continued throughout 2005. Nearly 23 per cent of the casualties inflicted upon the militants were the top militant leaders with Hizbul Mujahideen suffering the maximum damage constituting 33 per cent of total leaders decimated. Ties between the people and the Army took a new dimension of trust, faith and confidence due to natural disasters that plagued the state first in the form of unprecedented snowfall in February and then the powerful earthquake in October last year. The Army's efforts to win the hearts of the people through active participation in the development process received a perceptible boost last year, defence sources said. They said financial outlay for Operation Sadbhavana was the highest since inception of the project in 1998. In keeping with the policy of impacting children being the worst victims of militancy, many new schools were constructed and existing facilities of Army goodwill schools were improved and developed and a large number of children were taken on sponsored tours to other parts of the country in order to build up on their awareness levels. The Army came to the rescue of the civilians when the Valley experienced the most severe winter in three decades in February last year.