The recent bank robberies in south Kashmir have been conducted by Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, Inspector General of Police SJM Gilani said on Monday. He said that police investigations so far have pointed to the role of the militants. “Investigation revealed terrorists of Laskar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen involved in recent cases of bank loot in south Kashmir,” said Gilani, according to ANI.

There have been multiple instances of banks being looted recently, forcing J&K Bank to stop cash transactions in 40 branches. The bank had conducted a survey and declared the branches in Pulwama and Shopian districts unsafe.

On May 1, suspected militants had killed five police personnel and two bank officials while they decamped with a cash-loaded vehicle from a branch in Kulgam district. After the incident, the state police had issued an advisory asking banks to stop cash transactions in branches located in areas in which frequent militant attacks were reported. On April 28, security forces had foiled an attempt by militants to rob a branch in Anantnag district. They had managed to arrest one of the rebels as well.

Gilani went on to add that as many as 95 Kashmiri youth have joined militant groups in the past year. “There are over 200 terrorists active in Kashmir. [At least] 95 youth have joined the militant ranks in the past year,” he said, adding that of these 200, 110 militants were locals. He also spoke about the incident of stone pelting by students. “Some students were instigated by outside elements to pelt stones by giving them money, appeal parents of students to counsel them,” Gilani added, according to The Indian Express.

On the ban on social media in the Valley, the senior police officer said they will assess the impact of it by May-end, reported The Times of India. On April 26, the Jammu and Kashmir government had imposed a month-long ban on social networking websites and instant messaging services in the Valley. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Skype and YouTube are among the 22 platforms shortlisted by the local administration. Besides this, 3G and 4G internet services on cellphones had also been suspended in the region on April 17.