Jammu : There has been a sharp 32 per cent decline in the number of active miliants in Jammu and Kasmir in 2023 while 91 miliants are still active despite the security forces neutralising 72 in different operations during the previous year.
Referring to a data a new report said that a total of 61 foreign miliants and 30 local miliants are among those 91 still active in the erstwhile state. The data mentions that a total of 135 miliants were active in 2022. Of them, 85 were foreign miliants and 50 local miliants. In comparison with the figure of active miliants in 2022, there was a nearly 32.59 per cent decline in the number of active miliants in 2023.
Officers privy to the development said that the majority of the active miliants belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant outfit.
As per the data, a total of 72 miliants were neutralised in 2023. Of them, 22 were local miliants and 50 were foreign miliants. In 2022, a total of 187 miliants were neutralized comprising 130 local miliants and 57 foreign miliants.
While militancy-related violence and local recruitment have gone down significantly in Kashmir Valley, militants seem to have shifted the focus seemingly towards Jammu which was a militancy-free region before August 5, 2019, when Article 370 was read down.
Officers mentioned that there has been a decline in militancy related activities in Kashmir but noted that the number of such incidents, causing casualty, is increasing in the Rajouri and Poonch areas of the Jammu region.
The region, which has rugged terrain with a thick cover of vegetation, has witnessed some of the deadliest attacks on security forces and civilians.
In a recent incident, four soldiers were killed and three injured following an encounter started after miliants fired at two army vehicles passing through Dera Ki Gali in Rajouri’s Poonch region at around 3.45 pm on December 21 last year.
In November last year, five soldiers including two Captains were killed in action after the army and its special forces launched an anti-miliancy operation in Rajouri’s Kalakote.
In April and May 2023, 10 soldiers were killed in action in twin attacks in the Rajouri-Poonch region. This region had been largely free of miliancy between 2003 and 2021, after which frequent encounters started happening.
Over 35 soldiers have been killed in action during anti-miliancy operations in the area during 2021 and 2022.
Pir Panjal, which also comprises Rajouri district besides Poonch and parts of Reasi districts, has witnessed a spike in militancy in recent years with several Army soldiers losing their lives after being ambushed by militants in the region, said sources in the security wing.