Srinagar, July 5: The quantity of arms and ammunition recovered by security forces in 22 years of militancy is enough to equip two to three army divisions with small weapons, an army officer has said.
Figures with Jammu and Kashmir’s home department say that security forces have seized 30,752 AK-series assault rifles, 11,431 pistol and revolvers, 1,027 universal machine guns, 2,262 rocket propelled grenade launchers, 391 sniper rifles and hundreds of other weapons, including light machine guns and self-loading rifles.
The ammunition recovered includes more than 45,00,000 bullets and 63,000 grenades, besides 45,000kg explosives.
An army officer said the recovered arms and ammunition was enough to equip 30,000 soldiers. “A conventional army division has around 10,000 men and officers. The seized weapons would form the basic nucleus of weapons in two to three divisions and will meet their requirement of small arms, automatic weapons or ant-tank capability,” he said.
The figures also reveal that that 21,449 militants were killed and 21,655 arrested during this period, taking the combined figures to over 43,000. Security forces lost over 5,300 soldiers and cops. The number of civilians killed crossed 16,000, officials said.
Human rights groups and separatists, however, claim that 70,000 to a lakh people —including civilians, militants and security forces — have been killed. Another 8,000 men have apparently disappeared in the custody of security forces.
The official home document claims: “The recovery of such a big haul of weapons and ammunitions from the possession of terrorists is ample evidence to establish that the state has been facing nothing short of full-scale war by these terrorists at the behest of their motivators and mentors from across the border.”
The army does not share information about men and machinery deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to counter insurgency or threats from neighbouring countries.
But official sources say the number is in lakhs. “Our police force alone is more than a lakh strong while paramilitary forces, including CRPF and BSF, number around 1.5 lakhs. The army also has a huge presence,” a source said.