Srinagar: Like 2017, the year 2018 also appears to be heading for more bloodshed and violence. In 100 days since the beginning of the year, 90 people have been killed in the militancy-related incidents in the Kashmir valley till April 10.
The dead include 45 militants, 20 security personnel and 25 civilians. The worrying statistics point towards a hot summer ahead as security forces step up their operations to flush out militants while more local youth are taking up the gun.
Of the 45 militants killed, 25 were locals whereas the rest were described as foreigners by security agencies in the handouts issued post-encounters.
Nine militants were killed by the security forces in January and four in February. However, the highest militant toll came in March when 18 ultras were eliminated. The security forces have neutralised 14 militants till April 10.
In the corresponding period last year, 34 militants were killed in various operations by the security forces. Otherwise, over 200 militants were killed in 2017 as the security forces stepped up their offensive against the militants. in 2017, the militant toll was the highest in the past seven years.
Casualties among security forces are also rising.
A total of 20 security personnel were killed last year, including 12 security men in the first 100 days.
This year, the J&K Police have lost 12 of its men during various operations while six Army men have been killed during this period. Two paramilitary men have also been killed.
In 2018, the first violent incident occurred when an improvised explosive device exploded in Sopore in north Kashmir. It claimed lives of four policemen, including an officer. There also has been an increase in ceasefire violations along the Line of Control in the Kashmir region, which was considered peaceful unlike in the Jammu region.
However, the most worrying trend is the increase in civilian killings during encounters as people continue to throng gunfight sites to help militants escape.
A total of 25 civilians have lost their lives, a majority of them were killed either in forces’firing either during gunfights or during clashes.
Incidentally of the 20 civilians, at least 13 were died in Shopian district of south Kashmir. The civilians killed also include a young man from Hajin, who was allegedly beheaded by the militants.