Militant Groups Localising Militancy: MHA

18 December 2015
Rising Kashmir
Sumaiya Yousuf

Srinagar: Owing to failure to push militants into Jammu and Kashmir from across Line of Control (LoC), militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Toiba, have changed their modus operandi by trying to localise the militancy, said sources in Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Highly placed sources in MHA told Rising Kashmir that militant groups are finding it difficult to infiltrate their men into Jammu and Kashmir due to heightened security along LoC. 'In order to fill its numbers, the militant groups have started recruiting local boys into the militancy,' they said. A top MHA official, who deals with security of J&K, said militant group including Lashkar-e-Toiba are not able to send people across LoC as vigorous security arrangements have been put in place to thwart infiltrate attempts by the militants. 'Now they have started recruiting local boys, whom they want to operate in the valley for them,' he said. The official said there are two reasons for localizing militancy in the state. 'The militant groups train hundreds of militants on other side of LoC but fail to launch them to this side. Even if they try to launch them, the militants either get killed or are caught because of our robust counter infiltration grid,' he said adding for this reason they are now recruiting local boys. Another official said foreign militants want to give an impression that militancy in J&K is just a 'local thing' to avoid getting 'bad name in the valley.' 'The other important reason for localizing militancy is that the militant groups portray militancy and killing of civilians as a local thing. It is part of their strategy to show that it is a local thing. They don't want to take more risks because people in the Valley are now skeptical about them,' he said. Responding to a query whether local militants are taking over lead roles in militancy which was earlier the other way round, the officials said this was not entirely correct as most of the local militants are currently working for foreign militants. 'It is not entirely correct. The militancy started from Kashmir and Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM) was the largest militant group but then people started coming from Pakistan. HM had a lot of equipments and manpower then but now if we look at the number of HM militants, it is meager,' they said. The officials said they don't see surge in local militancy because youth are joining militancy as they are being recruited by foreign militant groups. In comparison to 1992, the militancy level now has declined and is very low. 'Both local and foreign militants are active here,' they said adding, 'We don't deny that numbers of foreign militants has declined. However, foreign militants have found an alternative to work here by recruiting locals. They also try to sneak in and recent infiltration and attack in Kupwara was their desperate attempt to infiltrate,' the officials said. They claimed that capacity and capability of local and foreign militants in the State has declined to a large extent. 'This was also one of the reason why foreign militants fail to infiltrate and locals fail to exfiltrate'. 'The militants are in small number and not very well trained,' the officials said. According to the government, about 74 foreign militants are presently active in Jammu and Kashmir. Special DG of CRPF J&K Zone, S K Bhagat recently told reporters that about 200 militants are active in the Valley out of which one-third are foreigners.