Amid recent surge in the militant attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, the state government on Tuesday said that around 150 militants, including 54 foreigners, were active, while over 4,500 Kashmiri youths have crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for arms training during the last three decades.
This was stated by the State Home Department, headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in the Legislative Assembly in reply to a question raised by former chief minister and Leader of Opposition, National Conference (NC), Omar Abdullah.
The home department, in its reply, said: “As many as 145 militants, including 54 foreigners (mostly from Pakistan) are active in Jammu and Kashmir, while around 4,587 youths have crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.”
The Inspector General of Police, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani, had said that around 150-170 militants, both local and foreign, were active in Kashmir. “The recruitment of local boys had increased last year and our focus is to contain and prevent them from joining militancy,” Gillani said.
Meanwhile, Gillani said the poster boy of militancy in Kashmir, Burhan Wani of Hizbul Mujahideen, who was recently seen in video urging cops to train their guns towards India, was on his own as most of his group members have been neutralised.
Since 2010, a total of seven Jammu and Kashmir police have joined militant ranks with their service weapons.
The home department said the state has sanctioned a policy to rehabilitate the militants, who are willing to return to Jammu and Kashmir. “The state government has sanctioned a policy and procedure for the rehabilitation of misguided youth who have crossed to PoK, Pakistan but have given up insurgent activities due to change of heart and are willing to return the state,” the chief minister said.
The chief minister also said the Nepal was not an approved route for the return of former militants.
“The policy recognises four routes for the return of misguided youth. Nepal is not an approved route under the policy. The Union government has sought comments of the state government on the inclusion of Nepal route for the return of the militants,” the reply said.
But the state government said around 490 youth along with their families have returned through Nepal in last 13 years.
“A total of 489 youth along with their wives and children have returned from PoK and Pakistan to Jammu and Kashmir via Nepal from 2003 to 22 May, 2016. And 15 youth have returned via Nepal since January 2015,” the home department said in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
In 2013, the former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, told the State Legislative Assembly that no person returned from PoK or Pak from the routes identified for the return of former militants to Jammu and Kashmir. However, Omar said that as many as 277 person and their 578 family members returned via Nepal route which is not approved under the policy.
Till 2013, the state government had received 1,171 applications on behalf of the people willing to return home.
The chief minister in a written reply to senior National Conference leader, Ali Sagar, said a total of 146 militancy-related incidents took place last year in which over 100 militants were killed. “A total of 146 militancy-related incidents took place between 15 January, 2015 to 15 January, 2016, leaving around 169 people including 108 militants, 39 security personnel and 22 civilians dead,” the reply said.
The state government, in its reply, said south Kashmir witnessed highest number of militancy-related incidents in the last year, leaving over 30 militants dead.
“The south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian saw 61 militant attacks resulting in the death of 54 persons including 12 securitymen and 34 militants,” the reply said.
But the south Kashmir districts saw more killing in the militancy-related incidents. “The north Kashmir districts witnessed 57 militant attacks which resulted in the death of 92 persons including 60 militants and 21 security personnel,” the reply said.
The government, however, said that the Ladakh saw no militant attacks last year while the summer capital Kashmir witnessed 15 militant actions and two other attacks took place in Kathua district of Jammu. The Poonch district saw around 5 militancy-related incidents which resulted in the killing of six militants and a security man.
Jammu and Kashmir has a presence of over seven lakh army personnel to combat militants and protect the borders with Pakistan and China.