By News Desk | Srinagar, Kashmir
The Director General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir, Ashok Prasad on Wednesday claimed that the Hygam shootout in which four policemen were shot dead was carried by a local group of militants belonging to Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen.
“The mastermind of the plot has been identified and efforts are on to track him down. The recent surge in militant attacks is a deliberate plan of militants to provoke the Police for retaliation that would trigger collateral damage,” Prasad told the Kashmir News Service.
However, he made it clear that police would not in any circumstances fall prey to militant plans. “Graph of violence has gone down by almost 38 percent as compared to last year,” the DGP said.
“We have identified the mastermind of the Hygam attack, and he is a local belonging to Hizbul Mujahedeen,” the DGP told the news agency, adding that the north Kashmir was almost clear of militants following the arrest of Lashkar-e-Toiba Divisional Commander Fahidullah.
He claimed that there were just a few militants active in Sopore area, “and all of them belong to Hizb.” The DGP said that the Pakistan origin Lashkar commander was still under investigation and would soon be produced before court for judicial proceedings.
“We did not face any resistance from Fahidullah. He raised his arms when police challenged him. He was arrested as per law. He is still under investigation and we would be soon forming a strategy to produce him in fast track court,” said Prasad who added that police would seek the maximum possible punishment for the Pakistani militant.
Claiming that the recent surge in militant attacks was aimed to divert the attention of security forces from law and order maintenance that had become their (Police’s) priority in the aftermath of Afzal Guru’s hanging, the DGP said, “They (militants) are desperate to put us in confrontation with public, but that is not going to happen,” stressed Prasad, adding that Police was not in any way going to restart the nocturnal raids, crack downs or checking of vehicles on permanent basis.
“Police is ultra cautious viz-a-viz public. We don’t want them to put into inconvenience that is why sometimes it takes more time to catch a militant than one would expect,” the DGP claimed.
He, however, maintained that the strategy of police has changed and policemen have been advised to go with full preparation in field.
“Hygam incident was a surprise for Police, who had actually gone there for normal policing,” the DGP said and added that the incident was a ‘bad incident’ for police who nobody would like to remember. He, however, was quick to add that such incidents give a perception that militants were losing their confidence and don’t have the capability to face police.
“There are two sides of the story, the dark side of it is that we lost our four officers, but surely this will not happen again and again. The brighter side of it is that militants have lost confidence and don’t have the capability to face Police. The DGP also claimed that there was no major infiltration bid reported this year so far,” he added.