More than 40 Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists operate in four districts of south Kashmir, say security agency officials on Monday after at least two such ultras were killed in a fierce gun battle in Pulwama.
Several of these JeM terrorists are trained by the Pakistani establishment and can put up a stiff battle with Indian forces as seen from the marathon encounter at Pinglena area of Pulwama that ended after nearly 12 hours.
An Army Major and three men were killed in the action while another Brigadier and few men, as well as a senior police officer (DIG rank), received injury in the heavy fire fight going on since early morning.
One of the two terrorists killed has been identified as Kamran, a Jaish commander who is suspected to have played a key role in Pulwama massacre of 40 CRPF men.
While intelligence agencies knew about Kamran for the past few months, the second person, identified as Hilal, is too new to have a “personality card” made on him.
At least three other terrorists were trapped in the Pulwama locality where the cordon and search operation was launched on Monday morning.
The Jaish network in Kashmir, however, is far wider. According to a source familiar with the terrorist networks in the northern state, more than 40 Jaish ultras are around in Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian.
Most of the foreign terrorists entered Kashmir valley several months ago as the passes in higher reaches are now closed due to heavy snowfall.
Jaish also runs a thriving network to recruit locals, but they are far lesser trained than the commanders who received better training in camps supported by Pakistan Army and ISI.
Last year more than 200 locals were recruited into the jihad network, even though the forces eliminated 254 terrorists, majority of them being locals. A year before 128 locals were radicalised while 213 were eliminated.
This reflects on the steady and disturbing trend of young locals entering the terror network, despite knowing what the fate holds for them. “We need to stop the tap of radicalisation in order to get a handle on the security situation in the valley,” observed an officer.