Militants in Kashmir are switching to "smart militancy" by recruiting youth who instead of hiding in jungles work as normal people in urban pockets and are activated only when required. Similarly, militants are targeting former militants, whose number is around 20,000 in the Valley, to revive militancy.
According to a latest police report, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times, around 73 militants are active in the Valley - 41 in 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 who work full time and the other do daily chores, besides militant activities," said inspector general of police, Kashmir range, Abdul Ghani Mir, who recently busted a Lashkar cell in Sopore by arresting the group's operational commander Fahdullah. Around one dozen over-ground workers have been questioned and one militant killed since then.
The police believe that indigenous Hizbul Mujahideen is capable "to strike hard" and its members work as normal civilians during the day. "The militant groups are taking advantage of radicalisation and making selective recruitments in their camps," warns the police report.
Recycling of former militants, who continue to face hardships in assimilation because of no government policy, are being targeted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad to rejoin ranks.
At least 25 militants who returned in the last one year through Nepal route in south Kashmir's Anantnag district have been put under surveillance to contain any recycling. "At least two recycled militants are among 25 militants active in Handwara district," says the report.
Kashmir's commercial hubs like Lal Chowk continue to be on militant radar for grenade attacks and militants have surveyed areas up to Parimpora, outskirts of Srinagar, recently. "The militant threat has increased on the bypass road, which connects south with north Kashmir through outskirts of Srinagar," it said. The militants continue to choose soft targets like grassroots representatives and security forces at busy markets to ensure militant numbers do not deplete fast.
The report points out that new colonies in the city outskirts have become safe havens because residents do not socialise too often with each other. Three militants active in Srinagar, which include two foreigners, are lying low since December 2012 and remains outside the police radar.
Anantnag: Mubarak Ahmad Wani
Pulwama: 8 (Four Jaish-e-Mohammad and one LeT)
Kupwara: 8 foreigners
Handwara: 25 (24 foreigners and a local)
Sopore: 7 (Six local and one foreigner)