Around 250-300 ul­tras are ac­tive in Kash­mir

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

From P 1

In the same pe­riod, pre­ced­ing Septem­ber 15, eight civil­ians were killed and 216 in­jured due to stone-pelt­ing. A large per­cent­age of th­ese in­ci­dents were re­ported from sites of en­coun­ters be­tween the se­cu­rity forces and ter­ror­ists.

Home min­istry sources said apart from hav­ing neu­tralised a record num­ber of ter­ror­ists since June19 when the state was placed un­der gover­nor’s rule as com­pared to the pre­ced­ing pe­riod un­der the PDP-BJP gov­ern­ment this year, many top ter­ror­ist com­man­ders were ac­counted for by se­cu­rity forces. Th­ese in­clude top Lashkar com­man­der Naveed Jatt, Jaish sniper Us­man Haider, who was the nephew of Jaish chief Maulana Ma­sood Azhar, and Hizbul Mu­jahideen com­man­der Altaf Ah­mad Dar.

Apart from higher civil­ian deaths this year, al­most dou­ble that of 2017, what is of con­cern to the se­cu­rity es­tab­lish­ment is the rise in re­cruit­ment of lo­cal Kash­miris by Hizbul Mu­jahideen and Pak­istan-based ter­ror out­fits. “How­ever, a fall in re­cruit­ment lev­els has been wit­nessed in the re­cent months,” said an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial. The num­ber of ter­ror­ists ac­tive in the Val­ley is es­ti­mated to be 250-300.

Ex­plain­ing the higher num­ber of ter­ror-re­lated in­ci­dents this year, a se­nior of­fi­cer of the cen­tral se­cu­rity es­tab­lish­ment said it was es­sen­tially be­cause ter­ror­ists were be­ing more ac­tive this year. There were clear at­tempts by Pak­istan-aided ter­ror­ists to dis­rupt ur­ban lo­cal bod­ies and pan­chayat polls in the state, with sep­a­ratists too pitch­ing in with boy­cott calls and fre­quent bandhs.

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