Only 500 militants active in Kashmir: Police chief



New Delhi: Only about 500 insurgents, about 40 percent of them foreign militants, are still active in Jammu and Kashmir and peace is not far from the troubled state with a steep drop in violence in the last three years, says state police chief Kuldeep Khoda.

"There are about 500 militants presently active in Jammu and Kashmir and their number has come down from 700-800 last year and around 1,000 in 2008," Khoda said in Delhi where he had come for an official function.

The police chief said 40 percent of these militants were foreigners, mostly from Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

He said the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) - the terror outfits that have bases in Pakistan - were active in the state.

"The Hizbul Mujahideeen is more in a supportive role to the LeT but it depends on the plans conceived across (the border)," he said.

Khoda said the overall security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir was improving and there was a drop in violence in the last three years.

"There was a 20 percent drop in violence in 2007 which improved to 28 percent in 2008 and 30 percent in 2009," he said.

The last year, Khoda added, also saw the lowest number of civilian deaths in militancy-related incidents.

According to official data, a little less than 500 terror incidents were reported in 2009 in which 239 militants, 71 civilians and 79 security personnel were killed. In 2008, 339 militants, 91 civilians and 85 security personnel were killed in 708 militancy incidents.

"We are on the right course," Khoda said, hoping the "violence will come down" further in the future.

However, he maintained that there was no let-up in incursion attempts by militants from across the border with security forces.

"Infiltration is going on though not to the extent as it was last year. Going by the (infiltration) bids made, there is no change in attitude of handlers across the border who want to push in infiltrators," he said.

According to the police chief, security forces had been able to curb militant incursion mainly due to better border management.

Khoda said Pakistan continued to support militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir. "Terrorists are coming or attempts are being made to infiltrate and they are getting training, equipment, funding... Militants trying to cross over do not face obstructions from Pakistani security forces but were, instead, provided covering fire.

"All this points to the direct role (of the Pakistan establishment)," he said, adding that Pakistan was not adhering to its commitment of not allowing its soil to be used for anti-India activities.

"They do not adhere to it. Nothing is visible on the ground."

IANS