87 Jammu and Kashmir youths joined militancy in last 7 months
NEW DELHI: Eighty-seven youths from Jammu and Kashmir have joined militancy this year, with 12 of them joining after Governor’s rule was imposed in the state, according to information from the home ministry.
The latest data on violence in Kashmir shows that the current year has been one of the most tense years for the state. The recruitment of militants picked up after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in 2016.
If the trend continues, 2018 may end up as the worst year in terms of the number of youths joining militant groups, according to security officials. In 2015, 66 youths joined militancy in Kashmir. The figure rose to 88 in 2016. Last year, 126 youths picked up the gun--the highest number since 2010.
“Eighty-seven youths have joined militancy in 2018 (till July 20) in the four districts of South Kashmir—Anantnag (14), Pulwama (35), Shopian (23), Kulgam (15),” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in the Lok Sabha. This year, the number of casualties has also been high. In 2018, till July 22, 110 terrorists were killed by security forces, while 18 civilians died in militancy-related violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Compared to this year, the numbers of terrorists killed were 213, 150, and 108 in 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. Civilian causalities were 40, 15 and 17 in 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Despite the killing of militants in encounters with security forces, the recruitment of local militants has not stopped. Security forces have failed to find a way to tackle this trend and to prevent young and educated youth from taking the path of violence.
This year, youths who joined militancy included Junaid Ashraf Sehrai, 26, an MBA degree holder from Kashmir University and son of Mohammed Ashraf Sehrai, who took over as chairman of the Tehrek-e-Hurriyat from Syed Ali Shah Geelani. The Tehrek-e-Hurriyat is a pro-Pakistan amalgam of separatist groups.
The list also includes 26-year-old PhD scholar Mannan Bashir Wani, hailing from Kupwara, the officials said. Wani was studying in Aligarh Muslim University.The minister informed Parliament that the Central government regularly reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.