As Operation All Out continues in full swing, security agencies say that there are at least 271 terrorists operating in the Valley. Out of the 271 terrorists, 20 of them have been categorised either as A++ or A+.
Officials tell OneIndia that the top priority would be to take down the top 20. Officials also say of the 271 terrorists, there are at least 65 foreigners. All the foreign terrorists belong to either the Jaish-e-Mohammad or the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, officials also pointed out.
Officials say that there has been a rise in the number of recruitments. What is more worrying is that many educated youths are taking to terror. As per a report of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), an Intelligence wing of J&K Police, 32 per cent of youths who joined militancy had passed Class X and 19 per cent were undergraduates or graduates. While post-graduates constitute 7 per cent, the remaining 7 per cent who joined militancy were without any education.
Over 65 per cent showed religious inclination before joining militancy while 10 per cent were academically inclined. While 3 per cent were drug addicts and the rest 22 per cent were vagabonds, the report submitted by CID to MHA said.
Asserting social media had an impact on them, the CID report said 25 per cent of youths had access to social media in 2010 and 2011 respectively which rose to 30 per cent by 2014 and 70 per cent in 2015. The report says that opting for guns "is a youth phenomena" and youngsters "join militancy because of thrill seeker attitude".
Officials say that there was a lull in the operations owing to the Ramazan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir. However now with the government refusing to extend the ceasefire, operations are on in full swing.
In the past couple of months, there has been a surge in the number of recruitments. At least 75 locals have joined terrorist groups in the past six months, officials also say.
Police and security forces are to intensify their "outreach programme" to persuade local militants through their families to lay down weapons and "join the mainstream".
Operations against militants in J&K would be intensified in the days to come as extremist activities increased during Ramzan when counter-militancy operations were stopped, state police chief S P Vaid said last Tuesday.
"Operations will continue. Only thing was in between, during this (ceasefire) period, the operations were stopped. They were going on earlier also, but we will intensify these operations in the days to come. And it would be, I think, much easier to work," he said here when asked if Governor's rule would make any difference to the security apparatus of the state in counter-militancy operations.
Vaid said the militant activities increased during the period of Ramzan ceasefire. The officer said a high number of 127 young men joined terrorist groups in 2017, a record since 2010.
Since 2014, there has been a constant rise in the number of people joining militancy. As many as 66 youths joined militancy in Kashmir in 2015 and 53 in 2014, according to data compiled by security agencies.
In 2010, 54 youths joined militancy and in 2011, the number came down to 23. It further dipped to 21 in 2012 and 16 in 2013, it said.
There is a trend of highly educated men joining militancy in Kashmir now.
In January this year, Mannan Bashir Wani, who was pursuing Ph.D. in earth science-Geology from Aligarh Muslim University marked his presence in the roll calls for the last time before heading home to Tekipora village in Lolab of Kupwara district in north Kashmir.
Three days after his departure on January 2, a young man with fair complexion and with a black beard holding AK-47 in his hands went viral on social networking websites in Kashmir.
The young man was 25-year-old Manan who had joined the ranks of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
The youth joining militancy has gone up after the killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016.
Muhammad Rafi Bhat, a young assistant professor of Kashmir University, killed during encounter within two days of having joined militant ranks, has yet again brought focus on the new-age militancy in the restive region.
Rafi was among five militants, including wanted Hizbul Mujahideen commander Saddam Padder, killed by government forces in Shopian district on May 6.
Five civilians were also killed in clashes in the area.
Others include the 26-year-old Junaid Ashraf Sehrai, an MBA degree holder from Kashmir University and son of Mohammed Ashraf Sehrai, who took over as chairman of Tehrek-e-Hurriyat from Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Teherik-e-Hurriyat is a pro-Pakistan amalgam of separatists groups.