There has been a proliferation of home-grown militants in Kashmir valley, according to intelligence inputs

The development comes more than five months after Article 370, which had given special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was revoked and a communication clampdown imposed in the Valley. The intelligence inputs come amid preparations by security forces to step up anti-terror operations in the region.

The anti-infiltration grid set up along the Line of Control (LoC) has been acting as a deterrent. Inputs have revealed that though several terrorist launch pads had sprung up along the LoC since 5 August 2019, fewer terrorists had infiltrated into India.

However, with internet services being shut down in the Valley, radicalisation by word of mouth has become rampant, with over-ground workers (OGWs) of terrorist organisations communicating through satellite phones and radicalising the youth during prayers at mosques, especially in villages across south Kashmir, according to intelligence inputs.

“There is a very slow trickle of infiltrators into Kashmir. However, radicalisation among locals has been growing rapidly because local OGWs are operating here. Radicalisation drive primarily by the Jamaat-e-Islami has been responsible for the presence of at least 220 terrorists in Kashmir," said a senior intelligence official, requesting anonymity.

If internet services were resumed in the Valley in line with the directives of the Supreme Court, the ongoing radicalisation of local Kashmiris is likely to increase, said security personnel.

“Forces are conducting increased cordon and search operations to flush out militants. However, this is a cyclical process. If one is killed, another is radicalised. If internet services are resumed, this will only get worse and by February or March, they will start striking with greater force," said a security force official, also requesting anonymity.

In November 2019, the Union home ministry had said that 5,161 people were arrested in Jammu and Kashmir since 5 August, of which 281 were stone pelters. The ministry said 20 people, including three security personnel, had been killed in terrorist violence.

Defence experts said while there was nothing out of the ordinary in continued militancy in the Valley, the government needed to prepare for an increased onslaught of violence once communication facilities are fully restored.

“There is still a curfew and a communication clampdown in Kashmir. When all this is restored, including internet, there will be a massive backlash and the government really needs to prepare for that," said Lt. Gen (retd) H.S. Panag, a former Indian Army officer and defence expert.

The development comes just a day after the Jammu and Kaahmir Police arrested decorated cop Davinder Singh after he was found to be allegedly transporting terrorists of the Hizbul Mujahideen out of Kashmir.

While fresh searches were also undertaken at Singh’s residence on Monday, he was also quizzed by intelligence agencies.

In the wake of recent developments in the Valley, the Central Reserve Police Force on Monday was assigned its new director general, A.P. Maheshwari. A 1984 batch IPS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, Maheshwari’s appointment comes following the superannuation of its previous DG, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar.

Maheshwari is currently the special secretary (internal security) in the Union home ministry.