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Militancy growing in Jammu and Kashmir as terrorist influx continues, warn officials

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-09-2017 Shaswati Das

New Delhi: Senior security and intelligence officials warned that militancy continues to grow in Kashmir after security forces gunned down a fourth Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist in Uri town of Baramulla district on Monday in operations that began on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the Indian Army foiled an infiltration bid by armed militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Keran sector in Kupwara, aided by Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT).

Officials said militancy was exacerbated by the fact that there was a continuing influx of terrorists from Pakistan and emergence of militants within Kashmir.

“Each month at least eight to ten new terrorists join the various terror groups such as the Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the JeM. The ones who join are either locals from Kashmir or from Pakistan who cross over into India,” said a senior security official, on condition of anonymity. According to the official, there are nearly 250 militants currently holed up in the valley. He added that the influx of militants and the subsequent operations being carried out by security personnel in Kashmir will see a dip only in the coming winter months once the snow closes the passes and the ravines.

Border Security Force (BSF) officials stationed in Kashmir added that while there is little or no infiltration in the winter months, the recent spate of attacks along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir have been carried out by militants who came in during the summer and stayed on.

This year alone (till 31 July), according to home ministry statistics, 194 terror incidents have been carried out in Jammu and Kashmir, in which 39 security personnel and 115 terrorists have been killed.

One common factor in terror attacks at Pathankot, Uri and Nagrota since September 2016 has been the lack of lighting in adjoining forest areas. While the terrain in these regions is inhospitable, both in the summer and winter, the militants were able to slip in under cover of darkness, aided by local guides from Kashmir, a senior home ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

Defence experts say that the recent spate of attacks show that militants are struggling to “achieve their targets.”

“These militants are trapped inside India and they have to produce results. They will continue attacking because they know that their families will otherwise be tortured in Pakistan. The frequency of such attacks will increase before they are eliminated totally by the forces,” said Gaurav Arya, a former army officer and defence expert.

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