A top-ranking Army officer has warned of a surge in the recruitment of local Kashmiri youths by militant outfits active in Jammu and Kashmir.

Brigadier Sachin Malik said, ”Recruitment and number of local militants have been rising. In south Kashmir, approximately the number of terrorists is 200, out of which may be 15% are foreign militants.”

Brigadier Malik, however, said that the security forces will step up anti-terror operations to cut down the number of these militants and prevent recruitment of Kashmiri youths by various militancy outfits.

”We’re doing operations to cut down the number of active militants and reduce recruitment of new militants,” Brigadier Malik said.

The warning from Brigadier Sachin Malik came after the security forces shot dead five hardcore militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) in an encounter in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.

Five militants have been killed in the operation at Chowgam in Kulgam district of south Kashmir, an Army official said.

He said weapons and war-like stores have been recovered from the encounter site.
The encounter began this morning after the forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in the area following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants there.

While the forces were conducting the searches, the militants fired upon the forces, ensuing a gunfight.

A police official said the militants belonged to two outfits of LeT and HM and their killing was a huge success for the forces.

“It is a huge success for police and security forces. They belonged to both HM and LeT,” he said.

He said most of the slain militants were “involved in a series of militancy acts including killing of two bank employees and many policemen”.

“They were also involved in bank robberies and weapon looting,” the police official said.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out near the site of the encounter as groups of youths started pelting stones on the forces.

He said a few youths have been injured in the forces’ action on the protesters.

Train services between Baramulla and Qazigund were suspended due to apprehensions of law and order problems.