The year 2017 continued to witness violence as forces killed around 210 militants—most of them in hinterland and along the Line of Control. Besides 117 local youth joined militant ranks even as chief minister Mehbooba Mufti stated that only “killing militants was not going to wipe out” militancy in Kashmir.
The forces continued to remain on tenterhooks due to civilian protests near encounter sites to help militants escape from cordons. In the year at least 40 civilians were killed during gunfights and restrictions on public near encounter sites and public warnings didn’t quell the protests. As many as 78 force personnel were also killed by militants.
In Kashmir the first encounter in 2017 was reported from Pahalgam area of south Kashmir—the epicenter of militancy—in which three Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were killed on January 16. A total of 343 militancy-related incidents were reported in the state.—RK