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NEW DELHI: Jammu & Kashmir recorded a significant decline in terror-related incidents this year, which fell to 67 till July 16, 2021 from 105 till June 30 last year. Local terror recruitment too was lower at 57 cases till July 16 this year as compared to 73 in the first half of 2020.
Sources in the central security establishment attributed the positive signs to concerted efforts by the UT administration to engage J&K youths with entrepreneurship initiatives and recreational activities like sports, etc. Of the 57 locals who joined terror ranks until July 16 this year, 34 have been neutralised and 11 have surrendered, leaving only 12 new recruits still active, as per data related to terrorism in J&K accessed by TOI.
As many as 78 terrorists were killed in counter-terror operations across the UT till July 16 this year, down from 123 in the first half of 2020. Officials said the lower numbers were largely on account of the slowdown in counter-terror engagements coinciding with the lockdown imposed due to the second wave of Covid-19. “The encounters have picked up in the past few days and many terrorists have been neutralised,” said an officer.
Around half a dozen security force personnel were killed till July 16 this year, as against 62 security personnel killed through 2020. Also, 14 civilians were killed by terrorists this year (till July 16) as against 37 killed through last year. Explaining the fall in numbers of local youths joining terror outfits, a senior government official claimed that the push to entrepreneurship through measures such as offering commercial vehicles to youngsters for self-employment, skill development initiatives and constructive engagement through sports and other recreational activities helped dissuade local youths from picking up the gun.
A total clampdown on gatherings at funerals of slain terrorists ensured that there were no “breeding grounds” for potential terrorists. “It was noticed that funerals of felled terrorists offered conducive conditions for radicalising young Kashmiris to rebel and choosing the path of violence. Each funeral would earlier drive at least 3-4 locals to join terrorism,” an officer told TOI.