As operation in Kupwara forests entered 12th day, the army today said that 50 to 60 militants are active across north Kashmir region of the Valley. “There are 50 to 60 militants, both locals and foreigners, active in whole of the north Kashmir,” the army’s 15 Core Commander, Lt General Satish Kumar Dua, told reporters at Handwara on the sidelines of a function. Asked about the ongoing operation in Manigah and nearby forests of Kupwara, the Core Commander said that the terrain where militants and army are engaged is difficult. He said that the hiding militants are not able to get out from the areas. “The terrain is difficult. Our men and a militant were killed in the operation. After infiltration, these militants are not able to move out,” he said. Refuting that army used heavy weaponry during the operation, the Core Commander said: “There is no shelling going. Our army doesn’t use heavy weapons. That is because we don’t want collateral damage. We don’t want to hurt civilians,” he said, adding that the army men “never fire first bullet”. “This is why our men are always hit by bullets,” he said according to GNS. Claiming that people are helping army, he said: “We get to know about these militants through people. They are cooperating with us. Otherwise, how was it possible for us to get information?” The Lt General refused to divulge further details about the ongoing operation, saying: “it would harm the operation”.
2015 Kashmir Despatch