273 militants active in Valley, local ones outnumber foreigners

There are a total of 273 militants operating in Kashmir, according to a list prepared by security agencies last week and accessed by the IANS.

Out of the 273 active militants, 158 are based in South Kashmir, 96 in North Kashmir and 19 militants in central Kashmir. At 166, the local militants outnumber the 107 foreign militants operating in Kashmir.

The militants belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen (HuM), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Al Badr outfits. LeT tops the list with 112 militants followed by Hizbul Mujahideen with 100 militants, Jaish-e-Muhammad with 58 militants and Al Badr with three militants.

Sources indicate that the graph of infiltration from across the border has also gone up with many successful infiltration attempts recorded since the scrapping of Article 370 on August 5.

According to sources, while the ongoing communication curbs in Kashmir are preventing Pakistan from passing on instructions to militants in the Valley, these have also impacted anti-militancy operations. Fewer operations have taken place since August 5, with security forces banking for information mostly on human intelligence rather than technology.

Sources say the lull has given the militants time to regroup and spread across the Valley. Sources add that though the militants have been largely inactive of late, this could be a deliberate ploy to launch attacks on the security forces once they get a go ahead from their handlers across the border.

According to sources, over the next few days and weeks there could be more encounters between security forces and militants, who may try and register their presence by carrying out sensational attacks like the one in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed.