SRINAGAR: With the number of active local terrorists in the Kashmir division of Jammu & Kashmir now falling to 29, a nearly 73% decline from 109 at the end of 2018, additional DGP (Kashmir Zone) Vijay Kumar on Saturday said J&K police aims to wipe out terrorism in the UT in another two years.

"There are 81 active terrorists in the Kashmir Valley as of now, including 29 locals and 52 foreign terrorists. Bandipora, Kupwara and Ganderbal districts are free of local terrorists, while only one local terrorist each is active in Anantnag, Srinagar, Baramulla and Budgam. Also, just three terror chiefs or senior commanders are now based in the valley - Hizbul Mujahideen chief Farooq Nalli, Riyaz Sathri of Lashker-e-Toiba and Javed Mattoo (though Mattoo is inactive due to ill health). Two years ago, 80 terror commanders were active," said Kumar.

Kumar said the fall in number of active terrorists and law and order incidents (from 2897 in 2016 to 26 this year) besides no civilian killings in law and order incidents since 2020 was largely due to constant surveillance and engagement of terrorists. He said fall in local recruitment, which has come down to 99 this year from 201 in 2018, is due to their reduced shelf-life and parents of neo-terror recruits and radicalised youngsters coming forward to report them to police, who then counsel them, or themselves appeal to them to leave terror ranks.

He cited refusal of home owners to give shelter to terrorists due to fear of attachment of property and a strong counter-infiltration grid as the other reasons for the sharp decline in number of local terrorists. Also, he said not handing over bodies of terrorists to their families since 2020 for funeral, which often became a hub for terror recruitment, worked and has now become an accepted practice as police allow five members of the family to be part of the burial, with due rituals and videography, at chosen sites near the border in Bandipora, Kupwara and Baramulla.