New Delhi, Jan 11: Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) MLA Aijaz Ahmed Mir has triggered a huge row by describing Kashmiri militants as ‘martyrs’. Mir said that killings of terrorists in the state should not be celebrated while calling incidents of teenagers joining terror groups as a collective failure. Also Read - Low-intensity IED Explodes in Kashmir's Pulwama; Area Cordoned Off, Probe Underway, Say Police

“Militants who are from Kashmir are martyrs, they are our brothers, some of them are minors who don’t even know what they are doing,” Aijaz Ahmed Mir, who represents Wachi constituency located in Shopian district of south Kashmir said. Also Read - Video: Farooq Abdullah Grooves to Tunes of 'Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyaar Ke Charche' With Amarinder Singh at Wedding

“We should not celebrate the killings of militants, it is our collective failure, we feel sad when our security forces are martyred as well, we should sympathise with parents of security jawans and with parents of militants as well,” he added. Also Read - US Welcomes Steps Taken To Return J&K To Full Economic And Political Normalcy

Mir’s remark triggered an uproar in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly with Opposition leaders, including former CM Omar Abdullah, demanding the PDP-BJP Government’s response. The Opposition staged a walk out from the House amid chaos.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in alliance with the PDP on Jammu and Kashmir, has taken strong objection to Mir’s statement. “Terrorists and separatists are enemies of Kashmir, Kashmiris, development and peace. How can they be someone’s brother?” Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi asked.

Mir’s statement comes a day after state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that her government has vowed to break the “vicious cycle” of youth taking up arms.

“Young boys get glorified by taking arms in their hand and uploading the picture on social media sites. My effort is that the local militants should get back,” Mehbooba said.

According Jammu and Kashmir Police, over 200 militants were killed in counter-insurgency operations in the state in 2017. (Also Read: Over 200 Terrorists Killed in 2017 in J&K, Over 2850 Were Eliminated in 2001)

According to official figures, 200 militants were killed by the security forces during counter-insurgency operations from 1 January, 2017 to November, 2017, which is the highest since 2010. In 2010, 270 militants were killed. However the number dropped to around 100 per year by the end of 2015.

There has been an increase in civilian killings in militancy-related violence as well with 54 civilians getting killed in 2017 compared to 14 in 2016. (Also Read: Jaish’s 4-feet-tall Commander Tantray Planned to Join BJP in 2003 to Eliminate Top Leaders)

The number of security forces killed in militancy-related incidents in 2017 was 77, lower than the 88 fatalities witnessed last year.