Kashmir civilian killings: Special security group to lead anti-terror Ops

To effectively curb the attacks on civilians in Kashmir, a specialised group of central police agencies will now lead the counter terror operations in coordination with the Indian Army and state police, government sources said here on Tuesday.

This group will consist of officials from the Intelligence agency, National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the officials from the central security forces, who have started working on a plan to nab the terrorists who killed 11 civilians in the last 16 days.

According to sources, this team will scan all the FIRs lodged earlier against the local youths and who were involved in the incidents like stone pelting and over ground workers or groups of local Kashmiris who had links with the terror cadres or sympathisers.

The intelligence inputs and preliminary enquiries of these killings have revealed that these incidents were carried out in the lone wolf attack manner, therefore, the team will scan the details of those youths who were pardoned in stone pelting incidents in the past.

During 2014 – 2018 over 4,000 youths, who were first-time offenders in the stone pelting cases were pardoned by the Jammu and Kashmir government. Sleuths from the central agencies are now seeking details of their whereabouts and are tracking their activities in the last six weeks, the sources added.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is most likely to hand over the probe of recent civilian killings in Kashmir to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as the probe so far indicates a definite pattern which is leading to the terror angle.

The killing of civilians in the valley was also discussed threadbare in the National Security Strategy Conference held on Monday wherein Union Home Minister Amit Shah deliberated on the issues with all security stakeholders of J&K.

The civilian killings in Kashmir have sent wrong signals in the valley and most of the migrant labourers and non-Kashmiris are leaving the valley, which has led to a general sense of fear even among the local residents also.

These terror attacks have also spread fear among the Kashmiris Pandits who were willing to return to Kashmir after government initiatives.

“The NIA will take over the probe in cases of Kashmiri Pandit and Pharmaceutical dealer Makhan Lal Bindroo, a Bihari street vendor Virendra Paswan and the other labourers,” the officials further added.

The Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to visit J&K from October 23 to 25 to review the security and developmental projects and the killings of the innocent civilians would be raised during his proposed meeting with local delegations.