2016 turns annus horribilis for security forces in J&K

Number of deaths and injuries has been the highest since 2007

November 27, 2016 01:10 am | Updated 10:40 am IST - NEW DELHI:

A file photo of Border Security Force (BSF) men patroling the International Border in RS Pura Sector in Jammu.

A file photo of Border Security Force (BSF) men patroling the International Border in RS Pura Sector in Jammu.

The year 2016 is turning out to be the worst year for security forces in Kashmir in almost a decade, with data showing a dramatic deterioration in the situation from most perspectives.

According to statistics available and projected figures, the current year will record the highest number of casualties after 2007. Conversely, 2016 would also record the highest number of successful militant infiltrations from Pakistan after 2007. Militancy has seen a steady decline since 2007 upto 2014. Kashmir also recorded a steady drop in militancy-related violence starting from 2008. The trend continued until 2014, when the situation suddenly began to worsen and violence flared up. This year has so far been worse than the previous two years.

One of the most disconcerting trends for security agencies is that militants have been able to inflict much more casualties on them with each attack.

Dramatic jump

While the total number of violent incidents in Kashmir has only gone up marginally from previous years, the number of security personnel killed or injured has dramatically risen. Until September 30, 2016, a total of 63 security personnel had been killed in Kashmir while 181 were injured. The death toll among security agencies could go up by another 20 by the end of the year, if the trend in violence continues. It would be the highest number of security personnel killed in a single year after 2007.

The situation for security personnel in Kashmir has dramatically deteriorated with 2016 recording the highest number of deaths and injuries among personnel since 2007.

Until September 30, 2016 the total number of those injured from the army, paramilitary forces and State police is 181.

At this rate another 60 more could sustain injuries if violence levels are not controlled. This again is the highest number of injuries to security forces after 2007, when 336 men in uniform were injured. In 2008, the number of injured in uniform fell to 111.

Raising serious concerns in the security establishment, successful infiltration attempts by militants from Pakistan side have also dramatically risen. It could be because of a variety of reasons, including active assistance from Pakistan military.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir told Parliament last week that 105 terrorists have successfully crossed over into Jammu & Kashmir in 2016 by September 30.

This again is the highest number of successful infiltrations after 2007, when 311 militants successfully entered India, crossing the Line of Control.

In 2008, this number dropped dramatically to 57, for which many in the Indian security establishment believe a key reason was the Pakistan establishment’s sudden withdrawal of aggressive support to infiltration.

According to most reliable official estimates, in 2015 just 33 militants were able to infiltrate successfully into India.

“One possibility is that our anti-infiltration grid is not working effectively, because much of it is now distracted, as well as some amount of complacency,” one source argued.

On the other hand, the number of terrorists killed has also gone up, touching 119 by the end of September.

The number of civilians killed and injured in militant attacks has dropped, though overall violence level has gone up in 2016. “The militants are only targeting security installations, avoiding civilian casualties,” one officer pointed out.

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