NEW DELHI: A sustained crackdown on militancy in J&K, aided by strong ground intelligence, has seen the killings of terrorists outstrip recruitment by terror groups this year, with ranks of separatists increasingly dependent on infiltration of “foreign” operatives into the state.
The infiltration from PoK and Pakistan is slightly higher with 78 terrorists sneaking into J&K till July against 123 in entire 2016 but intelligence agencies say, given the current trend, it is a matter of time before the total number of active terrorists in the Valley sees a decline.
The number of terror recruits in J&K this year, going by intelligence records, is around 71, while as many as 132 terrorists have died in security operations.
Of the 132 terrorists killed as a result of intelligence-based operations this year, 74 were foreign nationals and 58 locals. As many as 14 were top commanders of LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen or Al-Badr. These included two in the “A++ category, four in A+ category and eight in A category””.
Sources said cooperation between central and state agencies is paying off. J&K police, CRPF and Army have jointly accounted for top Hizbul Mujahideen leaders even before they could settle down to their roles as one succeeded the other. After Burhan Wani, who assumed charge of the outfit in 2014, was eliminated in an encounter on July 8, 2016, the counter-terror forces have been hot on his successor Zakir Musa‘s trail.
Musa, however, parted ways with Hizbul and floated own outfit Ghazwat-ul-Hind in May 2019. Sabzar Ahmed Bhat, who took over after Musa, was killed within a week.
His successor Yasin Itoo did not last long and was killed on August 13, barely two-and-ahalf months after taking over.
Though more youth joined terror groups in the Valley over the past 3-4 months, deaths of terrorists exceed recruitment levels. Fatalities among terrorists surged from an average 9.5 killings a month till April to 18 in May, 30 in June and 25 in July.