SRINAGAR: In a disturbing development which is of grave concern to the security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir, a large number of educated youths from the Valley has been, of late, joining the militant ranks.
Police sources told Express that from January to June, at least 34 youths from across the Valley had joined the militant outfits.
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“Most of them -- as many as 28 youths -- were from South Kashmir that comprises four districts-- Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag,” they said, adding, the remaining recruits belonged to North Kashmir’s Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts.
Giving a break-up of the militant recruitment in South Kashmir, they said 15 youths had joined the militant ranks in Pulwama, seven in Shopian, four in Kulgam and two in Anantnag. “Similarly, two youth have joined militancy in Baramulla, one in Bandipora and three in Sopore, which is the hometown and stronghold of hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani,” said the sources, adding that all the new recruits were young and educated.
According to sources, central Kashmir that comprises Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal and Kupwara has bucked the trend.
The inspiration for the Kashmiri youths seems to be 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Hailing from Tral area of Pulwama, Burhan and his group have been posting their pictures in Army fatigues and wielding AK-47 rifles on Facebook. The group had also recently uploaded a video of 11 of its members in combat dresses in a jungle.
In both the FB posts, senior PDP leader and Public Works Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari’s former security guard Naseer Ahmad Pandit could also be seen. Naseer had fled with two AK-47 rifles from the minister’s residence in March and joined the Hizbul Mujahideen.
The pictures and the video released by Burhan had gone viral in the Valley, prompting police to block the pages.