Year 2022: Over 180 militants killed in J&K, notable drop in recruitment

Representational image | Photo: ET

In 2022, Kashmir witnessed a spate of targeted killings, leaving scores of civilians, including Kashmiri Pandits and migrant labourers, dead.

Afnan Habib | 

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SRINAGAR (JAMMU AND KASHMIR) — Over 180 militants were killed in 115 anti-militancy operations in 2022 in Jammu and Kashmir, while local militant recruitment remained at its lowest in the past six years.

According to details from a local news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the killed militants included 50 foreigners, including top leaders, and about 130 local militants. The majority of slain militants belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a banned militant outfit. 

Data shows that the summer capital Srinagar witnessed 11 anti-militancy operations in which 19 militants, including 15 from the LeT and four from the Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind (AGUH), were reportedly slain.

Sixteen militants, including 12 from LeT and four from Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), were killed in nine operations in the Kupwara district. Eight encounters in the Baramulla district resulted in the deaths of 15 militants, of whom eight were linked to LeT and seven belonged to JeM.

In three encounters, two JeM militants were killed in the Bandipora district. While Budgam district reported three encounters in which seven militants, including four from LeT and three from JeM, were killed, Ganderbal district in Central Kashmir only reported one encounter in which one LeT militant was killed.

Targeted killings
Kashmir witnessed a spate of targeted killings this year, leaving several civilians, including Kashmiri Pandits and migrant labourers, dead.

On May 25, Amreen Bhat, a 35-year-old local female TV artist, was killed in a suspected militant attack in the Budgam district of central Kashmir. Her 10-year-old nephew had also sustained injuries.

A Kashmiri Pandit named Sunil Kumar Bhat was shot and killed by militants on August 16 in the Shopian district of J&K. In the attack, his brother was also injured.

On October 15, militants shot and killed Puran Krishan, a 56-year-old Kashmiri Pandit from the Shopian district. A militant organization, namely Kashmir Freedom Fighters, claimed responsibility for the attack that sparked widespread protests across the Union Territory two days later. 

Three days after Puran Krishan was killed, on October 18, two migrant workers were killed in a grenade attack while asleep inside a rented housing they were living in at the time in the Shopian district.

In addition, 126 security personnel lost their lives in 2022 due to various incidents, including assaults, suicide attempts, unexplained gunfire, heart attacks, IEDs, avalanches, helicopter crashes, and hit-and-run incidents.

“In 2022, around 100 youth joined militant ranks; among them, around 65 were killed, 17 were arrested, and the rest 20 were active. The figure is less since 2017 as in the year 2017, 126 youth joined militant ranks, 218 in 2018, 126 in 2019, 167 in 2020, and 128 in 2021,” the figures reveal. 

Director General of Police J&K Dilbag Singh claimed in a press conference in early December that in their fight against terrorism, the security forces had a very successful year in 2022.

“We are being more proactive than what is needed. The police and security forces are foiling the conspiracy by Pakistan to spoil the atmosphere here. Those who think of joining the militancy ranks think several times before picking up the gun. The militancy has reached its lowest level once again. We do counselling of youth and tell them that the Pakistani agencies caused a lot of bloodshed in the last 30 years here. There is a need to work against it today”, Singh told reporters.

Afnan Habib is a freelance journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. He tweets @afnanhabib_