The COVID-19 pandemic has not flattened the curve of violence in Kashmir as nearly 50 persons including 29 militants and 13 armed forces were killed here since the lockdown was imposed across the country to control the spread of the virus.
The past few weeks have witnessed infiltration attempts along Line of Control, heavy exchange of fire between the armies of India and Pakistan, encounters, killing of civilians, fratricide and abduction attempts of J&K policemen. This period has also seen emergence of new organization ‘The Resistance Front’ which police officials and other agencies claim is the offshoot of Lashkar-e-Toiba.
In a fresh spate of violence four militants were killed in last 24 hours in two separate encounters in Kulgam and Qazigund areas of southern Kashmir. Three militants were killed in Lower Munda of Qazigund near NH-44 on Monday, while as one militant associate was killed and an army major was injured in an encounter in Kulgam. After the operation was over a blast occurred at the encounter site in Lower Munda, while the debris was being cleared in which seven persons including five minors were injured. In Uri of northern Kashmir exchange of fire along LoC between the two armies was reported on Monday as well.
“We have seen aggressive firing along LoC, which is also an indicator of increasing infiltration attempts being made, especially in Spring when snow starts to melt. COVID-19 may have stalled the world but hasn’t impacted the routine violence in Kashmir,” a senior police official told ET. Earlier this month five infiltrators and five army men including a JCO were killed along LoC in Kupwara. The armed forces claim that the infiltrators belonged to newly launched TRF. TRF also claimed responsibility of attack in Sopore, in which three CRPF personnel were killed.
The corona virus and the lockdown imposed hasn’t made any impact on the regular violence in Kashmir. Since March 25, when countrywide lockdown was imposed 50 persons including, 29 militants, seven civilians, six CRPF men, five army men, two policemen and an Over Ground Worker of militants were killed across J&K. This includes killing of two militants and a policemen in Kishtwar area of Jammu and three civilians killed during the exchange of fire along LoC in Kupwara.
“TRF is trying to make its mark immediately after its entry on the scene in Kashmir, because of which it is also making mistakes. This is why some of their members were killed in past week,” another police official told ET.
J&K police chief Dilbag Singh, went on to the extent that Pakistan is pushing corona virus infected militants to Kashmir from across the border. J&K police has also disallowed funeral gatherings of local militants, who are now buried secretly in presence of few family members away from their village or ancestral graveyard.