SRINAGAR: In what is being seen as an attempt to lure more youth to militancy, militants have released a picture of a group of 14 Kashmiri militants, on the pattern of a 2105 picture of the "Burhan group", on social media.
The picture of the "group of 14" armed with assault rifles, which seems to have been shot in an orchard, has gone viral on social media in Kashmir.
The picture is similar to the one released by slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in June 2015. Those figuring in that "group of 11" have been almost wiped out, with a lone surviving militant in police custody. Burhan was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016, and his killing triggered a more than six-month-long unrest in the Valley, during which about 90 people were killed and thousands others injured in firing by security forces.
The identity of the 14 militants who figure in the recently released picture is being ascertained by the police.
Police sources said one among the "group of 14" appears to be Shams ul Haq Mengnoo, who is the brother of an IPS officer posted in the north-east.
Shamas had gone missing in May this year and recently his picture with an AK-47 rifle had gone viral on social media. In the picture, it was mentioned that he had joined Hizb and his code name was "Burhan , the second".
A police official said they were ascertaining the identity of the other militants in the "group of 14".
He said the release of the photo of 14 militants with rifles was "a propaganda tool" for the militants to lure youth to militancy.
The trend of youth joining militancy has picked up in the Valley after Burhan's killing.
About 80-100 youth have joined militancy in the Valley so far.
Last year, about 127 local youth had joined militancy in Kashmir.
The south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam have emerged as the stronghold of the militants. The militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and dozens of militants affiliated with Al Qaeda-affiliated Kashmir cell headed by Burhan's close aide Zakur Moosa are active in south Kashmir.