New Delhi: The steep decline in the number of militants in the Valley has raised the morale of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. Security agencies claim the number of terrorists in the Valley is at an all time low in the past two and a half decades.

During the year 1990 to 2000, when militancy was at its peak, the number of terrorists in the Valley was estimated at more than 4,000. Now the security forces claim that merely 200 militants are active in the region.

A Senior official in the Home Ministry stated that number of active militants was never less than 700 in the last decade.

While claiming the fall in number of militants as vital step in containing terrorism in the Valley, the security official said, the internal strife in Pakistan and diminishing local support for terrorists in the Valley also contributed to the changing scenario.

Another official added, terrorism in the Valley was expected to rise in 2011 after anti-India demonstrations and incidents of stone pelting in 2010. But terrorist outfits failed to influence the youth in the Valley for stone pelting in exchange for money.

Of the 200 active militants, less than 100 are from the Valley while rest hail from the Punjab province of Pakistan, believed to be the stronghold of Lashkar-e-Taiba. Whereas, at the peak of terrorism in the Valley, terrorists from Chechnya, Afghanistan, Palestine, Sudan and Arab countries were engaged in violence. Certainly, the steep fall in their numbers has crippled the terror outfits capacity to strike in the region.

A senior home ministry official termed the conduct of peaceful Panchayat elections after 23 years in the state as a major achievement of the security forces.

In the previous year, 31 civilians and 33 jawans lost their lives in terror acts while 1,067 civilians and 590 jawans were killed in 2001. This decrease in terror incidents according to a senior official is the result of consistent efforts of the security forces in the past decade.