The Ramzan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir announced by the government on May 16, comes after a period of heightened armed violence and killings. “It is important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter on May 16.
An analysis of Jammu & Kashmir Police data shows that in the three years since March 2015, when the current government assumed power in the state, armed encounters between militants and security forces have increased by 53 per cent over the preceding three years. Deaths in conflict have similarly increased by 51 per cent.
The Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party formed a coalition government in Jammu & Kashmir in March 2015. Data suggest an increase in violence and related deaths since then, particularly after the July 2016 killing of militant commander Burhan Wani. As many as 209 militants were killed in 2017, up 65 per cent from 136 in 2016.
The data also attest to a spurt in incidents of stone pelting, pellet and bullet injuries, as well as damage to private properties.
By the end of 2016, the number of active militants across Kashmir was 209 (136 militants were also killed in that year), according to a map published by the Crime Branch of Jammu & Kashmir Police in its annual crime gazette.
Between 2012 and 2014, the army had estimated that fewer than 100 militants were active in Kashmir, most of them non-locals.
The spurt in militancy is reflected in the increase in the number of armed encounters between militants and security forces. Between 2012 and 2014, 129 encounters or incidents of cross-firing between security forces and militants were recorded, in which 227 militants (including 60 Kashmiri militants) and 101 security forces (including 48 army personnel) were killed, Jammu & Kashmir Police data show.
Encounters registered an increase of 53 per cent , with 247 encounters recorded from 2015 to 2017, in which 439 militants (including 156 Kashmiris) and 200 government forces (including 109 army personnel) were killed.
As many as 4,799 incidents of stone pelting took place from 2015 to 2017, as per home ministry data cited in a parliamentary response on February 7, 2018.
Stone-pelting is a relatively recent phenomenon, so no comparative figures are available.
During his Kashmir visit on 19 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on misguided youth to give up arms and join India’s democratic process.