The Army and the J&K Police on Tuesday claimed that the number of active local militants had dropped to double digits this year compared to three digits last year. However, these agencies flagged the continuing presence of foreign militants and imminent threat of fresh infiltration.
“Figures available suggest that of the 300 militants active in J&K, including in the Rajouri-Poonch belt, there are 82 foreign militants and 53 local militants. Security scenario has witnessed a big change post August 5, 2019. Peace and development has gained speed and civil administration is occupying the space,” Lieutenant-General Upendera Dwivedi, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, said in Poonch.
However, Lt. Gen. Dwivedi said the worrisome trend is that there were almost 170 unidentified militants listed with the Army who were tasked to conduct criminal activities. “There are 160 militants at various launch pads across the border. All efforts are afoot by the Army to prevent and foil the designs of militants with regard to attacking the security forces across the Union Territory,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Dwivedi said militants operating in J&K were facing shortage of weapons and the neighbouring country was sending consignments of pistols, grenades, and drugs. “Small weapons are being used to target non-J&K residents who come here to earn their living. Locals, security forces and police have strongly condemned such acts. Those involved in killing innocents will face action,” the Army officer said.
In Kashmir, J&K Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh also suggested that the number of active local militants had reduced to two digits. “The number of active local militants has been brought to just two digits. Very less foreign militants are active as of now,” DGP Singh said during an interaction with mediamen in north Kashmir’s Baramulla town.
Describing Baramulla as “almost peaceful with less influence of militancy now,” DGP Singh said, “Anti-militancy operations are going on and very soon remaining militants will be eliminated as well. Handlers across the border had been luring the young boys, giving them weapons and targets. We have largely succeeded in facing this challenge. Over 100 modules of hybrid militants were busted across J&K this year so far.”
On the blog being run from across the border, DGP Singh said, “Some elements sitting across the Line of Control can’t digest peace prevailing in Kashmir. There is an issue of threats to police, media men and even public representatives. It is the media that has to take the call. Media men don’t need to worry as we have already lodged a case against the blog and people running it. Strict action will be taken against those handling this blog,” the DGP said.
Meanwhile, the J&K Police busted a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant module and arrested two active militants and their associates, including a woman, in north Kashmir’s Hajin area.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the module was being handled by a LeT commander from Pakistan. The module was directed to carry out substantial attacks on civilians and security forces to instil fear in the minds of general public. They were also tasked to carry out a powerful IED blast at any crowded public place to cause maximum civilian casualties,” the police said.