Repeated attacks on telecom towers in Jammu and Kashmir and fresh recruitment of youths from South Kashmir into terror groups, especially the banned Hizbul Mujahideen, has set the alarm bells ringing in the security establishment.
A close monitoring of the developments over the last three months in Kashmir Valley has shown that nearly 26 boys mainly from South Kashmir have joined the militant groups, primarily the HM, official sources said today.
On the recent terror attacks on telecom towers, mainly in North Kashmir, the sources said it was possibly a result of some internal rift in the Pakistan-based HM outfit.
While HM's Chief Syed Salahuddin has distanced his outfit from the attacks, the sources said 'Lashker-e-Islam' is just its shadow group and that the operation has been undertaken by its self-styled Chief Commander Qayuum 'Nazarwala', a resident of Sopore who has been heading the group for the last six years in this area.
Piecing together the available evidence on ground, the sources said the HM group had installed 'repeaters' at two cell towers owned by a private telecom company.
These 'repeaters' boosted the frequency of the signals and the same were used by the terror group over their radio sets for transmission of signals, the sources said.
After one of the 'repeaters' was seized by the security forces, the terror group got rattled and threatened the owner on whose land the cell tower had been installed.
This was followed by pasting of posters in entire Sopore, 60 km from Srinagar, and six terror strikes in which two persons were killed and four others injured between May 23 and June one.
So far, eight people have been arrested in this connection but none has been able to provide any lead in the attacks, the sources said.
The shadow group of HM has also been successful in roping in 26 boys -- 21 from South and five from North Kashmir --into the terror group's rank and file, the sources said.
The boys have not exfiltrated into Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir(PoK) for training yet, the sources said, adding the basic training which includes lobbing of grenades and firing from small arms is being provided in higher reaches of South Kashmir, Tral and jungles of North Kashmir.
The fresh recruits are believed to be behind attacks on telecom operators in Srinagar and killing of CRPF jawans in South Kashmir last month.