Thursday, October 22, 2009

5,279 troopers killed in India-controlled Kashmir in 20 years

SRINAGAR, India-controlled Kashmir, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- At least 5,279 police and paramilitary troopers have been killed in India-controlled Kashmir in the past 20 years, police spokesman Wednesday said.
    Of the 5,279 deceased personnel, 889 personnel belonged to India-controlled Kashmir police, 470 special police officers and 131 members of village defense committees, said the spokesman.
    "The number also includes personnel from Indian paramilitary forces like Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force and so on. All these people have died during the violence in last 20 years," said police spokesman.
    The figures were released by the police during a ceremony Wednesday to commemorate the deceased policemen in Srinagar.
    Indian police and paramilitary troopers have been fighting militancy in the region since 1990.
    The police recruited Special Police Officers on a nominal salary to get inputs from the ground. However, the paramilitary troopers raised force like Village Defense Committees to get vital information about the presence militants in hilly areas.
    The Special Police Officers are working in tandem with regional police, while Village Defense Committee members are active in the mountainous terrains of Jammu and assist army and paramilitary troopers to restrict militant movement.
    According to the police officials most of the fatalities have been inflicted during the gunfightings. Apart from gunfightings militants in the region target Indian police and paramilitary troopers through grenade attacks, target shootings and by exploding improvised explosive devices.
    Gunfighting between militants and Indian army troopers in India-controlled Kashmir takes place intermittently.
    Police and defense officials maintain that most of the times the operations triggering gun fights are carried out on prior information about presence of militants in specific areas.
    This year, 36 police personnel have been killed in the region fighting militancy.
    According to official figures, so far 40,000 people have got killed during the last 20 years in violence between troops and militants. However, rights bodies and separatists put the figure around 100,000. 

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