The youths joining the terror ranks in Jammu and Kashmir have a "short shelf life" with more than 64 per cent of them being killed by security forces within a year, officials said on Sunday. Security forces, aided by a strong on-ground intelligence network, have scaled up anti-terror operations in the first five months of this year, though frequent violence in south Kashmir remained a cause for concern, they said.
Citing data of terrorists neutralised between January 1 and May 31 this year, the officials said 64.1 per cent of the new terror recruits were eliminated within a year. Only 26.6 per cent of the terror recruits lasted more than 12 months, while the fate of 9.3 per cent of them was not known, they said. Giving further details, the officials said 28.1 per cent of the terror recruits were killed within one month, 54.7 per cent within six months and 59.4 per cent within nine months.
The officials said 70 to 75 youths have joined various terror groups in Kashmir Valley in the first five months of this year. The corresponding figure of last year was near equal. They said south Kashmir continued to be the hotbed of terrorism in the valley as the region saw 59 terrorist killings by security forces in the first five months of this year compared to 31 such killings in central and north Kashmir.
Out of the total 90 terrorists killed in the valley between January and May, 26 were Pakistani nationals and the number is much more than that of the whole of previous year when 182 terrorists, including 20 foreigners, were killed in 100 anti-terror operations, the officials said. The officials said 45 terrorists were arrested during the period along with huge cache of arms and ammunition, with analysis and intelligence inputs suggesting a large supply of pistols aimed at target killings besides AK assault rifles, improvised explosive devices and sticky bombs.
Six of the 90 terrorists killed in 47 encounters were eliminated on the Line of Control (LoC) while trying to infiltrate into the valley from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the officials said, adding the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) suffered the major setbacks as 52 of its terrorists were eliminated and 18 others apprehended since January this year. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was the second on the chart with 20 of its terrorists being killed and four others arrested, followed by the Hizbul Mujahideen (11 dead and one arrested) and Al-Badr (four dead and three arrested). The identity of three remaining slain terrorists could not be ascertained, the officials said.
The officials said the four districts of south Kashmir -- Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian -- recorded the killing of 59 terrorists and arrest of 10 others, while summer capital Srinagar witnessed the killing of 11 terrorists, including four Pakistani terrorists, and arrest of four others. Pulwama district recorded the highest number of 27 killings of terrorists, including seven foreigners, followed by Anantnag (12), Kulgam (11) and Shopian (nine). Among the 11 terrorists killed in Kulgam, five were foreign terrorists, the officials said.
Seven terrorists were killed and eight others arrested in central Kashmir's Budgam district while Ganderbal district, which also falls in central Kashmir, saw the lowest incidents of terror activities with only one militant eliminated in a gunfight, the officials said. In north Kashmir, which is being used by terrorists as a gateway to infiltrate into the valley from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the officials said a total of 12 terrorists, including 10 foreigners, were killed and 23 others arrested.
Of them, six terrorists, including five foreigners, were killed in the border districts of Kupwara, three foreigners in Baramulla and three others, including two foreigners, in Bandipora. Eighteen terrorists were also arrested in Baramulla district and five others in Bandipora district, they said. The officials said a total of 61 terrorist-initiated incidents were reported from across the valley during the five-month period and half of them were reported from Pulwama and Srinagar districts.
They said a large number of weapons, including AK assault rifles and pistols, were recovered from the slain and arrested terrorists, indicating that the availability of weapons has increased. The officials said another alarming trend noticed was the large influx of pistols apparently meant to carry out targeted killings.
Nearly 350 pistols were recovered by the security forces during anti-terrorist operations since January this year with 92 seized in the month of May, the officials said, adding five IEDs were also recovered in May for the first time this year with intelligence inputs pointing to the use of magnetic bombs, also known as sticks bombs, by terrorists.
(With PTI Inputs)