SRINGAR: As against its internal assessment of 500 to 1,000 youth joining the militancy, Jammu and Kashmir police Monday said that only around 42 have actually taken up arms so far.
The assessment comes even as security agencies chalk out counter-insurgency strategies to neutralise local militants recruited since July.
There were apprehensions of mass recruitment after Wani’s killing, which was followed by unprecedented participation of youth in his funeral. However, latest police data show that only around 42 missing youth are ranked as active militants, most of whom have joined Wani’s Hizbul Mujahideen and not the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Fresh recruits, including students and more religiously inclined youth, come from all four districts of south Kashmir. In the list are three youth from Anantnag, six from Shopian, seven from Pulwama and 10 from Kulgam. Thirteen others are still missing but have not been categorised as having joined the militants. From the north Kashmir districts, 16 youth are believed to have joined the militant ranks.
The Valley witnessed 2,255 law and order incidents since July and the police still say “the situation remains fragile and volatile”. Over 10,000 youth were identified as “active stone throwers” and “organisers”. Till date, 6,598 youth have been arrested of whom around 5,200 are out on bail.
Since Wani’s killing, 18 foreign militants have been killed in Kashmir with security forces unable to zero in on local recruits due to the volatile situation. In the last few days, however, two local recruits have been killed — Waseem Ahmad Khanday and Sadam Mir, both from Shopian. The two had joined the Hizbul group recently.
Despite fewer recruits in the Valley due to “non-availability of weapons” and “lack of operational handlers”, the actual number of active militants has shot up to around 300 this year compared to 90 in 2015.
Security agencies point out that the real threat emerges from heightened cross-border infiltration. Around 87 militants sneaked into Kashmir till September 10 against 33 last year for the same period, sources said. The Hindu