Street violence down; Kashmir is quieter

As compared to last year, Kashmir has so far witnessed a steady drop in both the intensity and prevalence of street violence.

In 2016, spiralling public violence was sparked by the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani in a gunfight with the security forces on July 8.

The events that followed Wani’s death set the Valley on fire.

Official figures say 96 civilians and two policemen were killed in the unrest in the Valley and around 2,000 people, including civilians and security personnel, were injured.

Separatists claim 158 civilians were killed and 15,000 others injured in the unrest.

Nobody, however, disputes the fact that nearly 200 civilians suffered either permanent or partial loss of vision due to the use of pellet guns by the security forces during crowd control operations.

The writ of the state government was completely eroded during the unrest and this led to a situation in which the security forces could not carry out any anti-militancy operations, especially in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian, after July last year.

This encouraged the militants to move about freely and create an impression of so-called “liberated areas”.

This prompted dozens of local youths to join the militant ranks in south Kashmir areas.

The most serious fallout of the unrest on the security front were the public protests during anti-militancy operations.

“Over two dozen anti-militancy operations had to be called off to avoid loss of civilian lives in the beginning of this year,” said a senior intelligence officer who did not wish to be named.

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