At least 30 youth joined militancy in the Valley in the first four months of 2017, a report published in The Hindu said on Wednesday.
“The latest figures of militants in the Kashmir Valley reflect a grim picture as 30 locals joined the militant ranks in the first four months this year, and the once zero-militancy districts of Srinagar and Ganderbal are home to 23 active militants now,” the report said.
Quoting a police document, the report said that at least 224 militants are active in central, south and north Kashmir.
“Summers and melting snow always spike militants’ numbers. The fact that we have such a huge number of militants so early in the year only points to the swelling ranks of militants internally,” a top counter-insurgency police officer was quoted by the report as saying.
Of the 30 youths who picked up arms in the first four months this year, the highest number of ten were from Pulwama, which has become a springboard of militancy with the presence of 70 militants, including 12 foreigners, the report said.
“According to the police data, Ganderbal, Budgam and Srinagar, which were zero-militancy districts till 2015, have 11, 11 and 13 militants respectively hiding in the built-up areas,” the report added.
According to the report, the north too is slowly slipping on the security front, with a higher presence of foreign militants.
“Fresh infiltration has replenished militant ranks in north Kashmir, too, as Kupwara has 24 foreign militants and Baramula 15,” quotes a police report as saying.
The presence of local militants in the north is slowly swelling, with five youth from Bandipora, five from Kupwara and 22 from Baramulla, the report added.
Both the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) have neck-to-neck numbers in Kashmir Valley now, the report said.
“In south and central Kashmir, both the outfits prefer to work in tandem,” the report quoted a police officer as saying