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New Delhi: At least 96 civilians have been killed in Kashmir after the dilution of Article 370 and 366 terrorists were also killed by security forces in the same period, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Responding to a question by Congress MP Digvijaya Singh, minister of state for home Nityanand Rai said in a written reply that between August 5, 2019 and November 30, 2021, 81 members of the security forces were also killed.
Revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August 2019, the BJP-led Union government had said that the move would “end militancy” and bring “peace” to the region. The constitutional provision of special status to J&K was “strengthening separatist narrative” in the Valley, the government said.
While the government has sought to push this narrative, data has punctured the claim, as The Wire has reported in the past.
A report published by The Wire on the first anniversary of the dilution of Article 370 says:
“An analysis of data provided by [the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society] also shows that while the number of killings reported in the first half of 2020 is lower than the previous two years, when seen together with reports of increased destruction of civilian property and more violations of ceasefire at the border with Pakistan, there can be no denial of heightened conflict.”
At the end of 2020, Jammu and Kashmir director general of police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said that though terror incidents had reduced that year, the number of people joining the militancy had increased.
It is also important to note that for much of the period since August 2019, Jammu and Kashmir has been in a state of lockdown – the first imposed immediately before Article 370 was diluted and again after the outbreak of COVID-19.
Over the past few months, as restrictions are eased, data shows that terror-related incidents are rising again. In fact, October 2021 saw the highest civilian fatalities in over 30 months – preceding the dilution of Article 370. According to The Hindu, there were 25 incidents of killings in October, the fourth-highest for any month since 2012.
In another question, minister Rai revealed that in the 841 days before and after Article 370 was diluted, though the number of terrorist incidents has decreased significantly, the number of civilians killed is largely the same.
Between April 16, 2017 and August 4, 2019 there were 843 terrorist incidents that resulted in the death of 86 civilians and 78 members of the security forces. Between August 5, 2019 and November 22, 2021, the number of terror incidents was 496, nearly 350 fewer than in the period before. However, 79 civilians were killed in this period, apart from 45 members of the security forces.