The number of Kashmiri youth joining militant ranks has dropped significantly after the repeal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcation of the state into union territories but there was not much change in the pattern of infiltration attempts through the Line of Control (LoC), according to the official data.
Only 28 youths joined the ranks of militants in Jammu and Kashmir between August 5, 2019 and January 26, 2020, says an internal document prepared by the security agencies.
This represents a 60 per cent drop compared to the number of youths joining the militancy in Kashmir between January 1, 2019 and August 4, 2019, which saw 105 youths join the militant ranks, mostly in south Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian.
While an average 15 youths were sucked in by the scourge of militancy every month till August 5 last year, this number came down significantly to just 5.6 youths per month after that, as per the document. The Centre had on August 5 last year ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. According to the document, overall 2019 saw a drop of 35 per cent in fresh recruitment in militant ranks compared to 2018. While 135 youths joined militancy in 2019, 199 had taken to arms in 2018. Officials, however, said the figures may be less as many of the assets of intelligence agencies were cut-off due to the telecommunication clampdown post August 5.
On the infiltration front, the attempts by Pakistan to push more militants into the Valley continued unabated as 133 militants managed to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir. As many as 211 militants attempted to infiltrate in the union territory during the past year but 74 of them had to return to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) while four others were killed by the alert counter-infiltration grid, as per the document.
The security agencies feel that the situation in the newly created union territory has improved in 2019, despite a militant carrying out a deadly suicide car bomb attack at Pulwama that left 40 CRPF jawans dead on February 14 last year. The agencies maintain that the incident failed to demoralise the security forces, who have hit back hard at the terrorists.