Internal Security

Infiltration down to a trickle in J&K, but radicalization rampant among locals

There has been a proliferation of home-grown militants in Kashmir valley, according to intelligence inputs.

The development comes more than five months after Article 370, which had given special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was revoked and a communication clampdown imposed in the Valley. The intelligence inputs come amid preparations by security forces to step up anti-terror operations in the region.

The anti-infiltration grid set up along the Line of Control (LoC) has been acting as a deterrent. Inputs have revealed that though several terrorist launch pads had sprung up along the LoC since 5 August 2019, fewer terrorists had infiltrated into India.

However, with internet services being shut down in the Valley, radicalization by word of mouth has become rampant, with over-ground workers (OGWs) of terrorist organizations communicating through satellite phones and radicalizing the youth during prayers at mosques, especially in villages across south Kashmir, according to intelligence inputs.

“There is a very slow trickle of infiltrators into Kashmir. However, radicalization among locals has been growing rapidly because local OGWs are operating here. Radicalization drive primarily by the Jamaat-e-Islami has been responsible for the presence of at least 220 terrorists in Kashmir,” said a senior intelligence official, requesting anonymity.

If internet services were resumed in the Valley in line with the directives of the Supreme Court, the ongoing radicalization of local Kashmiris is likely to increase, said security personnel.

“Forces are conducting increased cordon and search operations to flush out militants. However, this is a cyclical process. If one is killed, another is radicalized. If internet services are resumed, this will only get worse and by February or March, they will start striking with greater force,” said a security force official, also requesting anonymity.

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