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September 7, 2000
Fewer civilians killed this year in J&K
Bashir Ahmad Soffi in Srinagar
The Chattisinghpora and Amarnath yatra massacres notwithstanding, the number of civilians killed by militants in Jammu and Kashmir this year has come down, the state government said Thursday.
Militants killed 564 people in the past eight months, compared to 591 during the same period last year, an official spokesman said in Srinagar.
Casualties among troops and militants have, however, increased. According to figures available with the government, 914 militants were killed since January this year as against 617 in the corresponding period last year.
The number of mercenaries, mostly from Pakistan and Afghanistan, killed this year has also gone up from 167 to 261, the spokesman said.
Security forces had to pay a heavy price this year as 231 personnel of the Indian Army, the Border Security Force, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Central Industrial Security Force and men from the state police were killed against 218 last year.
Troops seized a record 1,053 kg of the deadly RDX and 475 improvised explosive devices, which was twice the number/quantity seized during the same period last year.
The militants changed their strategy this year and used more IEDs and other explosives instead of confronting the forces directly.
While the number of blasts went up from 240 last year to 326 this year, the number of encounters with the forces came down from 675 to 302.
Troops also seized a huge cache of sophisticated arms, including 150,000 rounds of ammunition, this year as against 96,000 last year.
The spokesman said the government would conduct a survey to identify the families of militancy victims in the valley within a month to help the Rehabilitation Council widen its scope.
The council has so far paid Rs 500,000 as compensation in every district. The council offers maintenance allowance to school-going orphans, assistance to widows and vocational training to jobless.
The Baramulla district-level coordination-cum-screening committee, headed by the district magistrate, has sanctioned a relief of Rs 45 lakh to 64 militancy-affected families last month, taking the number of families given relief to 261, the spokesman said.
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