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More ultras surrendering in J&K: Security forces

By A M Sofi in Srinagar
January 18, 2006 10:04 IST
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There has been a sharp rise in the number of militants surrendering 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 uncertainity among the leadership were the key factors for their unwillingness to continue on the path of violence, the sources said.

They said the three-progned strategy adopted by the army -- maintaining a check on infiltration, relentless operations against militants 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 Line of Control fence, which helped the anti-infiltration drive, the sources said.

They said though lesser infiltration attempts were recorded in 2005, larger 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, included top militant leaders of 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 2005.

Defence sources said financial outlay for Operation Sadbhavana was the highest since inception of the the project in 1998.

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 improve their awareness levels.

In February 2005, during heavy snowfall, a large number of passenger vehicles were stranded at Banihal and Jawahar Tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu national highway. The army joined hands with the civil administration and local population to provide relief to the stranded people.

Even as relief work continued near Jawahar Tunnel, a tragedy of unprecedented dimension hit a number of remote areas of the state.

Even in normal circumstances, these areas are fully or partially inaccessible during winter.

Villages in Gurez, Waltengu Nar and Navapacchi regions were wiped out by snow and avalanches. Emergency evacuation from villages was carried out by the army, which resulted in the saving of hundreds of lives.

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A M Sofi in Srinagar
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