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KNZ NEWS DESK

Srinagar: The Army on Thursday said 450 militants were operating in Jammu and Kashmir, PTI reported.

“The number of militants is more on the north of Pir Panjal. Around 350 to 400 militants are active in the Kashmir valley. On the south of Pir Panjal (the Jammu region), there are 50 militants,” Northern Army commander Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh told reporters here.

He said most of the militants on the south of Pir Panjal were dormant.

“The security situation is stable on this side. However, the operations are mostly conducted on the north of Pir Panjal (Kashmir) as more militants are present there,” he added.

Lt Gen. Singh said the “militancy infrastructure was intact in Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PaK) and Pakistan.”

“It is sad that the militancy infrastructure in PcK is still intact. The Pakistan Army, in its bid to support infiltration of militants from across the border, carries out ceasefire violations and certain tactical activities along the LoC,” he said, adding that 16 militant training camps were operating in PaK and Pakistan.

“They (militants) are being trained and then brought to the LoC. Then they infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir. We are keeping these (activities) under surveillance,” the Northern Army commander said.

He added that 191 youngsters had joined militant groups in the Kashmir valley, but there was a relative decline in the number of people joining such outfits over the last few months.

“According to reports, 191 youngsters are reported to have joined militancy. Most of the recruitments took place up to the month of August. There was a relative decline in the number of youngsters joining militancy from October till now,” Lt Gen. Singh said.

He added that there were concerted efforts on the part of the Army to reach out to the youngsters and their parents and teachers so that they prevailed upon the youngsters not to join any militant outfit.

“We hope that the youth engagement programmes will pay dividends in the months to come,” the Northern Army commander said.

He further said that of the 836 militants killed in the state in the last five years, 490 were “Pakistani or foreign militants”.