The news of Shams-ul-Haq, brother of an IPS officer, taking up the path of militancy had come as a shocker and now it has been learnt that militant groups have stepped up the recruitment of local youths in Kashmir following the end of the Ramzan ceasefire. As many as 82 local youths have joined the militant groups this year till June-end, including 27 in June itself, according to Indian Express report.
“The increase in the number of local youths picking the gun last month came after June 16, which was Eid, when the ceasefire ended and the security forces decided to undertake operations,” said a Srinagar-based security official was quoted as saying by IE. The data has been compiled by Jammu and Kashmir’s Multi-Agency Centre (MAC). The data shows April witnessed the highest number of joining with 28 and May was the lowest with 14 joining the militant groups.
Among the 82 youths, 38 joined the Hizbul Mujahideen, 18 joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba and 19 joined the Jaish-e-Mohammad. In 2018, 12 youths from Anantnag, 21 from Shopian, 16 from Kulgam, 2 from Ganderbal, 1 Budgam, 2 from Srinagar, 20 from Pulwama, 3 from Kupwara, 1 from Bandipora and 4 from Baramulla.
In 2017, 128 local youths were reported to have joined militancy, up from 84 in 2016, 83 in 2015 and 63 in 2014. Going by this year’s numbers, security establishment has expressed concern and were also apprehending that 2018 could be the worst year ever in terms of local recruitment of militants in the Valley, according to IE report. According to security officials, the spike in April followed the Army’s operation on April 1, when 13 militants were killed in the Valley. Their funerals, said security officials, led to a fresh wave of recruitment of local youths into militancy.
“These local boys are not trained in fighting or handling weapons and have a very short life as militants, as we have seen in the recent past. More than a security challenge, this is a political and social challenge for us. Every death and every funeral leads to greater recruitment. It is a vicious cycle,” said the Srinagar-based security official.
“There are more local youths willing to join militancy than there are guns available. They try to snatch weapons from police and become a militant. It is not a healthy situation,” said an Army officer from South Kashmir.