Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in Kashmir
People run as suspected militants offer a gun salute to Fayaz Ahmad during his funeral in QaimohReuters

Baramulla district, located in the north-west of Srinagar, from where the Kashmir insurgency rose in early 1990s, has now been declared militant-free by the J&K Police.

Director General of J&K Police, Dilbagh Singh, while congratulating the police personnel on Thursday, said that after the police carried out Wednesday's operation in which three militants were killed, Baramulla has become free of any surviving militant.

The three militants, Nasir Darzi, Suhaib Farooq and Mohsin Mushtaq, were killed in an encounter on January 23 in Baramulla after the security forces were tiped  off about their presence in the area. All the three militants were from Baramulla and had joined militancy in 2017 after their pictures with the weapons went viral on social media. They belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba outfit.

Baramulla saw a rapid decline in number of militants after 2000

The sight of gun weilding insurgents traversing the lanes of Baramulla town and its adjoining villages was common in the early 1990s when the locals were taking up arms against the Indian government and joining militant outfits such as Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and Hizbul Mujahideen.

The influence of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who had given a pro-Pakistan lean to the insurgent movement in the valley, was particularly high in North Kashmir districts of Baramulla and Sopore since the latter was his hometown.

A very popular militant outfir, Al-Jihad, had its base set up in Baramulla and had recruited many local youth at the outset of Kashmir militancy.

Besides, the inflitration of Pakistan trained local and non-local militants along the border area of Uri and the Gulmarg near the Line of Control also contributed to the presence of insurgents in the district.

But after 2000, particularly 2010, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of active militants and violene in Baramulla and adjoining districts. The police and security agencies attribute the same to the non-participation of the civilians in the stone pleting incidents and no-interference in the encounters with militants.