Surge in militant recruitments in Jammu and Kashmir

Despite security forces scaling up their operations in Kashmir, inflicting heavy casualty on militants in the last 15 months, militant recruitments in the Valley have not abated. Over 200 militants

Published: 08th April 2018 09:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th April 2018 09:22 AM   |  A+A-

Despite rising casualities in security operations, more youths are joining militancy in the Kashmir Valley | PTI

SRINAGAR: Despite security forces scaling up their operations in Kashmir, inflicting heavy casualty on militants in the last 15 months, militant recruitments in the Valley have not abated. Over 200 militants were killed in 2017 and about 50 this year, including 13 in a single day. But that has apparently failed to deter local youths, as police records suggest one person is joining militant ranks every three days. At least 27 youths have joined militancy in the first three months of 2018, police statistics revealed. Police sources said many youths are also missing. “Their whereabouts are not known and if they have also joined militant groups, then the number will be much higher than 27,” said a police officer.

According to police records, the number of militant recruitments in the Valley has been steadily increasing over the past five years — from 16 in 2013 to 53 in 2014 and 66 in 2015. While 88 youths joined militancy in 2016, the number rose to 127 in 2017.  The trend further picked up after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag on July 8, 2016. 
Many highly educated youth have joined militancy this year. PhD scholar Manan Wani from Kupwara, who was studying in Aligarh Muslim University, had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in January. In the last week of March, Junaid Ahmed Sehrai, MBA graduate and son of separatist leader Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, had joined Hizb. 

A senior police officer blamed glamourisation of militancy and social media for local youths joining militancy. “When thousands of people attend funeral of militants, who are hailed as martyrs, it is bound to have an effect on the minds of young people. They are lured by militant commanders through social media and indoctrination,” he said.

“As militants are killed, their overground workers have no choice but to join militancy to fill the gap,” another officer said. The local militants are not well-trained, he added. “They cannot fight a prolonged battle as is the case with foreign militants. There have been many incidents when security forces killed the militants in brief gunfights and people of the area came to know after the operations were called off.” The officer, however, said the new brand of militants was highly motivated. “Despite knowing they will be killed, they don’t give up,” he said, citing the example of 21-year-old Rouf Ahmad Khan, who refused to surrender despite his parents’ fervent appeals.

Rouf, along with another militant, was trapped in Peth Dialgam area in Anantnag last Sunday. The police brought his mother and father to the encounter site to convince him to surrender. Police officers, as well as his parents, tried for about four hours to persuade Rouf, who had joined militancy last month. But he reportedly told his father that he had not joined militancy to surrender. 


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