Srinagar: Contrary to the official narrative that militancy in the Valley is confined to just four south Kashmir districts, the militancy is widespread in Kashmir, with encounters and militant killings and the subsequent protests happening in nine out of 10 districts last year.
Southern Kashmir, comprising four districts of Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama, which have emerged as the stronghold of militants witnessed 127 militant killings in 2018. Shopian district topped the list with 43 militant killings followed by 39 in Pulwama, 30 in Anantnag and 15 in Kulgam, a report published by The New Indian Express said.
Northern Kashmir, comprising three districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora witnessed 93 militant killings in encounters with government forces in 2018.
The Kupwara district topped with 52 militant killings followed by Baramulla with 27 and Bandipora with 14. Among the militants killed in north Kashmir was PhD scholar Mannan Wani, who had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen in January this year. He was killed in a gunfight with forces in the border district of Kupwara on October 11.
According to police data quoted by the New Indian Express 16 militants were killed in encounters with forces in capital city Srinagar in 2018 while six more militants including Lashkar-e-Toiba’s Kashmir chief Naveed Jhatt, who had escaped from police captivity in Srinagar hospital in February last year, were killed in the gunfights with forces in Budgam district.
Another central Kashmir district of Ganderbal did not witness any encounter or militant killings. Although a Hizb militant of the district, who was PhD scholar and Assistant Professor of University of Kashmir, Rafi Bhat, was killed on May 6, a day after joining Hizb.