Azhar Qadri
Srinagar, July 03:The number of conflict-related deaths in Kashmir is seeing a renewed increase with the emergence of a new generation of mostly home-grown militants, who are being aided by sympathetic local population. Killings of more than a hundred civilians, militants, and security personnel in the first half of this year is continuing the rising trajectory of violence that has picked pace in recent years after registering a record fall.

Two militants were killed on Monday in Pulwama district and two militants and two civilians were killed on Saturday last week in the adjoining Anantnag district. The four districts of south Kashmir have emerged as the epicentre of new militancy. The security forces are battling militants as well as militant-sympathetic local population, which often tries to disrupt the counter-insurgency operations.

According to Tribune Chandigarh, the militancy in the state is now nearing the completion of its 28th year. Even as its most violent phases are over, it continues to be lethal. In its annual report released last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the violence in the region was on the rise in the past three years after registering a record-low in 2012 and 2013. The most violent phase in Kashmir lasted from 2000 to 2003 when nearly 6,500 militants and 1,700 security personnel were killed, according to MHA’s data. In its 2013-14 report, the ministry had noted that the “years 2012 and 2013 showed a significant decline in all parameters of violence in the state.” In 2012, 102 conflict-related deaths took place in Kashmir which included 72 militants, 15 civilians and 15 security personnel. In 2013, the total casualty figure stood at 130, including 67 militants, 15 civilians and 53 security personnel. In 2012, the number of militants active in the Kashmir valley had fallen to double digits for a first time since the eruption of conflict in 1989 and in 2013 their number touched the lowest-ever figure of 78. However, the ministry’s assessment of situation regarding Kashmir had changed drastically by the end of the last year as it noted in its latest report that there had been a “significant increase” in militant violence and casualties of security forces. With 82 security personnel killed last year, the number was the highest in a decade. Nearly a hundred local youths joined the militant ranks.
Tribune News Service

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