The number of militants who have successfully crossed over into Kashmir via the Indo-Pak border is estimated to have risen almost four fold in 2016, according to data released by the home ministry today.
Against 33 estimated successful infiltration in 2015,119 militants are estimated to have crossed over in 2016, the numbers show.
The rise of successful infiltration was accompanied by an equally steep rise in the number of attempts made.
A total of 371 militants attempted to cross over into Jammu & Kashmir last year compared to just 121 in 2015 and 222 in 2014. In fact, the number is the highest in the last six years (see chart above).
Only in 2010 did a higher number of people try to cross over. In that year, 489 militants attempted to infiltrate into India
The numbers also revealed that the militants have been getting better at crossing over without getting shot dead.
While the ‘success percentage’ was around 20% in 2010 and 2011, it rose to 46% in 2012 and 35% in 2013.
Last year, 32% of the 371 attempts were successful.
Only 9% of those who attempted to cross over last year were killed, according to defense forces’ estimates, and another 1% apprehended. 58% gave up their attempts at infiltration and turned back (see chart below).
In fact, there was a significant drop in attempted crossings — and a increase in the number of infiltrators shot dead — in the first two years of the Modi administration.
In 2015, for example, there were only 121 attempts and 46 of the militants were shot and killed — a ‘kill ratio’ of 38. In comparison, only 9% of those who attempted to infiltrate in 2016 were killed.
The higher infiltration in 2016 also corresponds to a rise in separatist violence and agitations in the year — which saw the Kashmir valley being shut down for several weeks due to protests over the killing of militant Burhan Wani.
The Jammu & Kashmir police also keep a record of the number of Kashmiri youth who join the militant ranks in a year.
According to them, a total of 88 local youth joined militants in 2016, up from 66 in the preceding year and 53 in 2014 (see chart).
Jammu & Kashmir has been seeing separatist violence since the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, when Pakistan perfected — with the help of US arms and training — the strategy of creating unrest in another country by using radicalized Islamist fighters.