In a strong indication that the shelf life of Kashmiri militants has plummeted, all the 13 militants killed by the security forces on Sunday had joined the militancy movement only about three-four months back.
“Earlier the shelf life of a militant in Kashmir was between six and eight months which has further gone down now to about three to four months now,” a top military official closely associated with the Kashmir counter-insurgency operations told a newspaper.
All the militants killed by the Government forces in three incidents on Sunday had joined outfits like Hizbul Mujaheedin and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba not more than four months back, he said.
He added that All of them were Kashmiri youth who were trained locally and were in the Category B group of militants.
In the Dragar incident, all the seven killed hailed from the same Zainapour locality. While six belonged to the Hizbul, one was from the Lashkar which underscores the fact that now these outfits are actively collaborating in operations, he said
Till Monday, the number of militants killed in J&K has touched 58. In 2016, 141 militants had been neutralized while it recorded a high of 213 in 2017.
The number of killed militants is increasing because of several factors besides a jump in recruitment. Chief among them is much better human intelligence (HUMINT) and technical surveillance (TECHINT).
An important factor is that the state police, which has access to much better HUMINT, is now taking the lead in such operations, ably supported by the army and the paramilitary. Another critical factor is that the new recruits are being thrust into operations with rudimentary training.
According to initial intelligence inputs, a group of 11 militants including Category A militants Saddam Padder and Zeenat-ul-Islam had got together in a house in Dragar.
The militants had met for a meeting to plan operational strategy. But as soon as the security forces cordoned off the area, the militants numbering seven divided themselves into several houses in the locality before the firefight began.
This year till February, 7 Kashmiri youth had joined the militant ranks. The number of local recruitment stood at 63, 83, 84 and 128 in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.