SRINAGAR Over 100 militants, including 23 foreigners, have been killed in Kashmir in the first five months of 2019, but what is keeping the security establishment worried is the large number of new recruits, officials said Sunday.
According to them, 50 youngsters have joined various militantr outfits since March.
101 militants — 23 foreigners and 78 local militants — were killed in 2019 till May 31, news agency PTI quoted officials as saying. They include top commanders such as Zakir Musa, the chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
However, there is a sudden surge of militants from Hizbul Mujahideen joining Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, especially after the elimination of Musa on May 23, the officials were quoted as saying.
Among the militants killed, Shopian accounted for a maximum of 25, including 16 local militants. Pulwama was second with the killings of 15 militants, followed by Awantipora with 14 and Kulgam with 12.
However, all these highly-volatile areas in south Kashmir continue to contribute more youths to various militant groups.
There has been a steady rise in the number of youths taking up arms in the valley since 2014 onwards as compared to 2010-2013 when the figures stood at 54, 23, 21 and 6 respectively.
In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and in 2015, it reached 66 before touching the highest mark of 88 in 2016, data presented in Parliament earlier showed.