Are militants shifting base from south to north Kashmir?

Srinagar: Two deadly militant attacks in central and north Kashmir districts of Srinagar and Baramulla on August 14 and August 17 left 5 security men dead, giving sufficient indications that the ultras are re-strategising after south Kashmir areas ceased to be safe havens for them.

The attacks in Nowgam area of Srinagar and Kreeri area of Baramulla occurred in broad daylight even as senior police officers said there was no security lapse that allowed the militants to carry out these hit and run attacks.

Acting swiftly, security forces on Monday killed the two militants who carried out the attack in Kreeri area of Baramulla district in which two CRPF troopers and a SPO of the local police were killed.

Senior police officers including Dilbag Singh, DGP, and Vijay Kumar, IGP (Kashmir), have said they are developing leads to neutralise those responsible for carrying out the attack in Nowgam (Srinagar).

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“You can’t kill a security man and get away with it. We will get them and neutralise those who carried out the Nowgam attack.

“There is no record of any militant who killed a security personnel and survived for long during the last 30 years of violence.

“There is little doubt that the militants are finding the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian too hot to operate in.

“There is a perceptible change in public mood in these districts where parents are increasingly becoming concerned about their sons joining the militant ranks.

“Militants are clearly shifting their activities to central and north Kashmir districts with two main objectives.

“One is their belief that shifting of security forces focus from south Kashmir areas would ease pressure on their overground workers and sympathisers.

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“Secondly, militants feel that densely populated areas like Srinagar and remote areas of Baramulla and other north Kashmir districts would give them more mobility.

“Initially, the militants had some element of surprise while shifting focus to Srinagar and Baramulla districts, but that psychological cover is now blown”, said a senior intelligence officer who did not want to be named.

The officer added that despite the apparent perception of the militants re-strategising to shift their base from south to north Kashmir, their numbers are too small to get a fresh foothold in these areas.

“Loss of a security personnel is unfortunate, but that only strengthens our resolve to wipe them out,” said another senior officer.

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