Srinagar,  May 26:

Top officials on Saturday asserted that the strategy to conduct “pre-dawn anti-militancy operations” in Kashmir has worked well.

They said that as many as 91 militants, including top eight commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, were killed in “well-coordinated operations” since January this year.

According to a security expert, a joint and coordinated strategy by Police, Army and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to conduct anti-militancy operations was framed in early January this year. “And with the help of increased human intelligence it was decided to launch pre-dawn operations,” he said.

“We wanted to keep a surprise element for militants by catching them at a time when they would expect us the least. And midnight cordons were the best thing to zero in on the militant hideouts,” said a security official, who is part of the counter-insurgency grid.

“Ninety per cent of the operations were clean and conducted in a most professional manner where there was no collateral damage,” the officer, privy to the figures of slain militants revealed. “The reason to conduct midnight operations and to conclude the same by pre-dawn timing was to avoid confrontation with the protesting youth, who otherwise would get closer to the encounter sites. In most of the anti-militancy operations, militants were caught totally unaware of the cordon, a big advantage for the forces,” he claimed.