LeT Goes Local, Kashmiri Recruits On The Rise

15 November 2014
DNA
Hakeem Irfan

Srinagar: The number of Kashmiri militants in Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) has increased significantly in the Valley hinting at the groups resurgent influence in the state, senior police officials said. In South Kashmir, for instance the LeT was able to strike many times recently. On Friday, two LeT militants were killed in an encounter in Kulgam district of south Kashmir. According to senior Jammu and Kashmir police officials out of the 16 active LeT members in South Kashmir 12 are locals and only four are foreigners including a senior commander Qasim Peer. As of now around 100-120 militants of Hizbul Mujahideen, LeT and Jaish-e-Muhammad and other splinter groups are active across the Valley. 'This year number of new recruits from the Valley is more than the previous years. All the active outfits have recruited youth from here,' inspector general of police (Kashmir) AG Mir told dna. The increased number of locals in LeT has also resulted in smooth mobility of militants and subsequent surge in attacks. A foreign militant always strikes with caution and great planning, while local militants are eager to operate even when the chances of any success strategic or physical are minimal, police say. In South Kashmir, another militant outfit JeM, is working closely with HM which has at least 12 active local militants in Tral area of South Kashmir. Similarly in Srinagar and Ganderbal around six LeT militants are active, while in north Kashmir - Sopore and Baramullah - 30 LeT militants are operational. In Sopore, HM also has a strong cadre of 12 members, who police claim do not stick to one place. 'In North Kashmir significant number of foreign militants are operating. But after 2010 protests and killings, a large number of youngsters were fascinated by the idea of gun again,' said another senior police official. The most recent reasons for this resurgence in militancy in Valley could be the killings of more than 120 youngsters this year. Hundreds of youth were hounded by the CRPF, police and other agencies in wake of 2010 protests and many of them were arrested under Public Safety Act.