SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday revealed that 280 youth have joined militancy violence in Kashmir in last three years with 126 young boys joining militant ranks in Valley last year.
In a written reply to a question by opposition National Conference legislator Ali Mohammad Sagar, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti informed the Legislative Assembly in Jammu today that 126 Kashmiri youth joined the militant ranks last year, which is highest since 2010.
In January this year, 26-year-old PhD scholar Mannan Bashir Wani hailing from Kupwara, who was studying in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), joined Hizbul Mujahideen.
The youth joining militancy has picked up after the killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016.
Mehbooba, who also holds the Home portfolio, said 88 Kashmiri youth had joined militant ranks in 2016 and 66 in 2015.
According to the official data, 53 Kashmiri youth had joined militancy in 2014, 16 in 2013, 21 in 2012, 23 in 2011, 54 in 2010.
The security officials have termed the joining of militancy by Kashmiri youth as cause of concern.
They have made repeated appeals to the local militants to surrender and lay down the weapons and join the mainstream.
A police official said situation in Kashmir after Burhan’s killing is one of the factors of over 110 youth joining militant ranks this year.
Kashmir witnessed over five month long unrest after Burhan’s killing and about 90 civilians were killed and over 8000 injured in security forces action on protestors during the clashes.
The police official said the militant recruitment is directly proportional to militant casualties.
“The more militants are killed, the more over ground workers (OGWs) of militants have to become militants to fill the gap,” the official said.
He said security agencies are analyzing why youth, especially educated youth are joining militancy, and remedial measures would be taken to prevent youth from taking to guns.
The police officials recently held a meeting with family members of militants hailing from a south Kashmir district and appealed them to call on their militant sons to return to the mainstream.