Around 80 militants have been killed in south Kashmir in the past six months and around 115 ultras are still active in the region, of whom over a dozen were foreign terrorists, a top Army official has said.
"There are around 115 militants in south Kashmir and out of them, 99 are local and 15-16 are foreign terrorists. The actions that we have taken in past 6-7 months, we have neutralised nearly 80 terrorists including top leadership. ...as soon as the number of terrorists decreases, the situation will improve," General Officer Commanding of the Army's Victor Force, Major General B S Raju, told reporters.
Asked about the killing of a BJP youth leader in Shopian yesterday, Major General Raju said these were "acts of desperation" by the militants.
"Two to three such incidents have taken place in the recent past. We are given to believe that these are acts of desperation by the terrorists. They are not able to make any concerted action against the security forces. So they are looking at weaker targets and I am given to believe that police are taking necessary action against the perpetrators of these crimes," he said.
He said the Army and other security agencies would continue to take all necessary actions against the militants so that the people of south Kashmir could live in peace.
"The situation in south Kashmir is much better. Stone pelting and random acts initiated by terrorists have also decreased. As the winter season sets in, our actions would be more effective and peace shall return," he added.
On the Jaish-e-Mohammad militants in south Kashmir, Major General Raju said the process of neutralisation of the Jaish cadre has already begun. "We intend to act particularly against the Jaish".
On fresh recruitment among the militant ranks, he said that it was definitely a cause for concern.
"A lot of stakeholders need to work in a concerted manner to ensure that new recruitment is put in check. I would put the onus on the parents to ensure that they are able to take care of their children and I would put the onus on village elders, to the Moulvis in the villages and towns to ensure that they get right message across to the young people," he added.
He said teachers and principals of schools and colleges also have a role to play.
"The security forces have to ensure that they conduct operations in such a manner that would not alienate the population and the youth," he added.