Crescent Kashmir

Rapid growth in locals joining militant ranks in J&K: Officials

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New Delhi: The “exponential growth” in local youngsters joining militant ranks in Jammu and Kashmir over the last two years is a cause of concern for the security establishment with officials saying such operatives constitute about 60 per cent of the total active strength, CRPF sources said on Wednesday.

At the same time, as per the sources, out of the around 150-163 active militants in the Union Territory at present, 85 are stated to be foreigners, largely Pakistanis.

The share of local or “home-grown” terrorists among the overall numbers of these operatives has grown exponentially over the last about two years time. The share of local militants over these years has been as high as about 60 per cent, the sources said.

Earlier, it used to be reverse with foreign militants comprising about 60-70 per cent of militants operating in the Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu, they said.

This is a cause of concern but it is also to the credit of the security forces that the situation has been under control, the sources said.

The reasons for these high number of local youth joining militant ranks can be attributed to radicalisation, including through online means, by operatives from within the country and across the border, they said.

The recruitment of locals in militant ranks has been by-and-large hovering around the same numbers, officials said.

There have been 187 local militant recruits in 2018, 121 in 2019, 181 in 2020, 142 in 2021 and 28 in 2022, as per data updated till May 8. Officials also said districts in south Kashmir continue to be the “hotbed” of militancy as most local recruits are from this region.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has deployed as many as 60 battalions in J&K for undertaking counter-militant operations and rendering law and order duties. It is part of the security grid that comprises the CRPF, Army, J&K Police and central intelligence agencies.

As per official data, security forces likes the CRPF, Army and J&K Police killed a total of 71 militants this year out of which 19 were foreign militants.–(PTI)

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