Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid today downplayed reports that there has been a sharp spike in the number of young Kashmiris joining militant groups this year, saying militancy was not on the rise and the situation in the state was fast returning to normal. PTI had reported yesterday that there has been a spike in the number of young Kashmiris joining militant groups this year, with the number crossing 100 for the first time since such data started being collated in 2010. According to the reports of security agencies, 117 youths from across the Valley joined terror groups till November 30 this year. Vaid, while responding to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, said, “It (the high number of youth joining militancy) is not based on facts. Militancy is not increasing and the reality is that the situation is fast returning to normal (in Kashmir).” He evaded a question on the number of youths joining militant ranks. Vaid said the parents of local militants are appealing to their wards to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream society. “There is no fear prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir. Ask these girls who have come here from other parts of the country,” he said, referring to the women players who participated in the first ever Chief Minister’s T20 premier league which concluded at Parade ground today.
A senior security official had said yesterday that the figures of the police only take into account the cases registered in the police stations whereas the actual figures are always on the higher side as many parents do not report the matter to the law enforcing agencies due to fear. Comparing the figures with previous years, 2017 has emerged as the year of highest recruitment of youth in various militant groups in the last seven years. Such data is available from 2010.
According to the data laid on the floor of Parliament in March this year, there has been a steady increase in the number of youth taking up arms in the Valley from 2014 onwards as compared to 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2010, 54 youths joined militancy while in 2011, the number came down to 23 and further dipped to 21 in 2012 and 16 in 2013.
In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and in 2015, it reached 66 before touching the highest mark of 88 in 2016, the data showed.