As many as 142 terrorists have been eliminated in anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir this year, the Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), R R Bhatnagar, said today.
There are approximately 200-250 terrorists still operating in Kashmir Valley, he told reporters.
The DG asserted that the law and order situation is "better" in Kashmir compared to 2016-17 and the number of injured personnel has decreased.
As part of efforts to discourage youths from joining terrorists, he said a helpline called Madadgar was started by the force which received 2.5 lakh calls during last one year .
He said the terrorists were targeting unarmed security personnel and their families as they were frustrated.
"Our force is better protected and there is a better security situation on the law and order front (in Kashmir). In days to come, forces will perform even better."
Mr Bhatnagar said, "In this year alone till now, 142 terrorists have been neutralized and last year also there were good results."
Asked about the security situation, the DG said terrorism and law and order issues, which include stone pelting, shutdowns and strikes, are the "two big challenges" in Kashmir and they have been dealing with them sternly.
"We are dealing with these challenges effectively .We have very good coordination with our sister security agencies and security forces are successful in dealing with the situation as per their objectives", Mr Bhatnagar said.
Replying to another question on unarmed police personnel being targeted by terrorists in the Kashmir Valley, he said that this is due to the frustration of terrorists.
"They are engaged in such cowardice, by targeting (unarmed) police forces in their homes and also the CRPF, to create an environment of fear and terror", he added.
He said that with every sacrifice, the forces become more determined to stamp out terrorism and "our force will strongly deal with them".
Asked about terrorists increasingly recruiting youths from the Kashmir valley, the DG said the ratio of foreign and local terrorists keeps changing.
"Security forces have an upper hand as no major suicide attack has been successful. There is an effect of security operations on the ground and recruitments (of youth in Kashmir by terrorists) are taking place and we are dealing with it effectively," he said.
Replying to another question on militants believed to be active in the Valley, he said "different agencies have different figures. But approximately 200-250 is the figure (of terrorists operating in Kashmir Valley)".
Asked about CRPF casualties due to stone pelting attacks in Kashmir Valley, he said that from 2016-17 the injuries have decreased because of body protectors.
"Our safety gear has improved. Less lethal weapons are being used. Several things including tear and smoke shells, plastic bullets, pellet guns and a spectrum of less lethal weapons are now in use to ensure that collateral damage does not take place," he said.
He said that suicide attacks by terrorists on camps of the paramilitary force, whether it was in Srinagar or in North Kashmir, have been well defended and foiled.
"At one camp, they were able to come inside but it was an under-construction camp and there also we have neutralized them," he said. "Many steps are being taken for the security of camps including use of technology and surveillance equipments.
Asked about the security for panchayat polls, he said the notification has not come as yet for panchayat polls. "Security establishment will make a good arrangements for the poll security," he said.
Asked about steps being taken by the CRPF to de-radicalise youth joining terrorism in Kashmir Valley, he said a helpline called Madadgar was started by the force.
"During last one year, we have received two and a half lakh calls on that number and there were 2,500 such calls in which we have reached with various types of assistance to the locals of Kashmir Valley," he added.
The DG CRPF said that were trying to ensure that the misguided youth rejoin the national mainstream.
"We are carrying out several programmes including that of sports. We have got a good response in these initiatives of sports and Bharat Darshan programmes," he added.
"Our country is providing opportunities to the youth who are being radicalized in Kashmir valley and these initiatives not only continue in Kashmir valley but in the Naxal areas as well," he said.
The DG said that there is a very good response in recruitment drives by security forces in Kashmir and youths in thousands come out to join security forces.
"We have ensured that every martyr of CRPF gets Rs one crore as compensation apart from their service dues and in this regard we have tried to ensure since January this year", he said. Mr Bhatnagar said that CRPF has a long tradition of valour and sacrifice. CRPF is on forefront of internal security challenges whether it is Jammu and Kashmir or in naxal areas or in north east, he added.
"Apart from this, we are also engaged in relief work during various natural calamities", he said adding that on Independence Day, the CRPF was awarded with a record of 96 gallantry awards, which included five Shourya Chakras.
"The endeavour of our force is to work in professional manner within the ambit of law," he added.