At least 45 Kashmiri youths joined militancy this year
At least 45 youths from the Kashmir Valley, including an MBA and a Ph.D. scholar, have joined militancy this year till mid-April, according to officials, as the unusual surge in numbers takes the security establishment by surprise. According to officials, Shopian and Kulgam in south Kashmir have emerged as a major hub by respectively accounting for 12 and 9 of the 45 youths.
Kashmir areas where youth joined militancy
Other areas of south Kashmir which have witnessed youths taking to militancy are Anantnag (7), Pulwama (4), and Awantipura (3). Moreover, unconfirmed reports, which were in the process of verification, suggest that three more from Pulwama had joined militant groups, officials said today.
Son of Tehrek-e-Hurriyat's chief suspected to have joined militancy
In north Kashmir, one youth from Handwara, two from Kupwara, one each from Bandipora and Sopore, and one from Srinagar have disappeared in recent past and are suspected to have joined militant organizations. This includes Junaid Ashraf Sehrai, 26, an MBA degree holder from Kashmir University and son of Mohammed Ashraf Sehrai, who took over as chairman of Tehrek-e-Hurriyat from Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Every funeral of a militant gives rise to new militant
The list also includes a 26-year-old Ph.D. scholar Mannan Bashir Wani hailing from Kupwara, officials said. Wani was studying at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). According to officials, every funeral of a local militant spawns at least two additions to the ranks of militant groups. The Valley has witnessed the killing of at least 55 militants including 27 locals this year.
It's a scary situation, says senior politician
A senior politician, who didn't wish to be named, said, "Never has this situation arisen when space for mainstream politicians has shrunk to this extent. It's a scary situation." Security agencies believe that in April there's been a conspicuous rise in the number of locals joining various militant groups after 13 local terrorists were killed in encounters with security forces in Shopian and Anantnag.
Ruling party politicians abandoned their ancestral homes
Ruling party politicians from south Kashmir have reportedly abandoned their ancestral homes and housed themselves in well-fortified accommodations in Srinagar or Jammu. Efforts to seek their comments on the situation in their constituencies did not yield any result.
Youth joining militancy shows CM Mehbooba Mufti's failure: Abdullah
Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah said, "Mehbooba Mufti's biggest and least talked about failure has been the massive jump in the numbers of young Kashmiri men joining the ranks of militant organizations." On more and more locals joining militancy, he had said, "Is no one in a position of power in Delhi alarmed by this because I certainly am!"
Parents are helpless as their children aren't ready to surrender
Police has approached many parents requesting them to ask their children to surrender on the assurance of a normal life. The story remains unchanged, says a senior police official, who adds that many a times parents express their helplessness. Appeals have been made by Mehbooba Mufti as well as state police chief SP Vaid and senior army officers but in vain.
Cannot specify particular reason for spurt in number: Officials
"We cannot keep a finger on any particular reason for the spurt in number. However, it could be growing influence of pan-Islamization and religious indoctrination in which unemployment emerges as a catalyst for a quick reaction to pick up a gun," said senior security official.
Valley has witnessed 100 deaths in 2018
In the Valley, the first four months of 2018 have already witnessed 100 deaths, including 55 militants, 20 security personnel, and 25 civilians. Of the 55 militants, 27 were locals whereas the rest were described as foreigners by security agencies in the press handouts issued post-encounters. In 2017, a total of 126 youths had picked up guns. It was the highest number since 2010.
Youth taking up arms in Valley increased since 2014
There's been a steady rise in the number of youth taking up arms in Valley since 2014. In 2010, 54 youths joined militancy while in 2011, the number came down to 23 and further dipped to 21 in 2012 and 6 in 2013. In 2014, the number shot up to 53; in 2015, it reached 66 before touching the highest-mark of 88 in 2016.