Militants in Kashmir are working on a strategy by which an urban tradesman during the day could be transformed into a gun-carrying separatist by night.
They are trying to burrow into the state apparatus by recruiting people who will carry on with their lives as usual in urban areas and assist in militancy only when called upon to do so.
Also, they are eyeing former militants, who number around 20,000 in the valley.
A police report, a copy of which is with HT, says around 73 militants are active in the valley — 41 in the north, around 20 in south Kashmir and the rest in other pockets.
North Kashmir’s Sopore, Handwara and Kupwara continue to be militant hotbeds. “There are two categories of militants in Sopore. One (comprises those) who work full time and the other does daily chores besides militant activities,” said inspector general of police (Kashmir range) Abdul Ghani Mir, who recently busted a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) cell in Sopore by arresting the group’s operational commander. Around 12 over-ground workers have been questioned and one militant killed since then.
The police believe the indigenous Hizbul Mujahideen is capable “of striking hard” and its members work as civilians during the day. “The militant groups are taking advantage of radicalisation and making selective recruitment in their camps,” the police report warned.
Former militants, who continue to face hardship because of there being no government policy towards them, are being wooed by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad.
Alleged sarpanch killer arrested
The Jammu and Kashmir police on Sunday said they had arrested a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant who was involved in killing a sarpanch in north Kashmir’s Pattan town.
“Muzaffar is involved in the murder of a sarpanch,” a police spokesman said. “A pistol, a pistol magazine and three pistol rounds were recovered from him.”
Meanwhile, in another town of north Kashmir, Sopore, 55 km north of Srinagar, the security forces in a joint search operation recovered some arms and ammunition after a tip-off.