No end to recruitment of Kashimiri youths

No end to recruitment of Kashimiri youths

The biggest challenge for the security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir this new year will be to find out a way to stop the entry of the valley's youth brigade into the terror stream, which shows no sign of drying up.

Despite the killing of more than 200 terrorists including a large number of locals in 2017, sources told DH that 117 Kashmiri youths were radicalised till early December.

The number may come near the 150 mark, if one takes into account unconfirmed reports on the indoctrination of another 25-30 local youths and the outcome of another December camp.

All the three terrorists including a 16-year old were killed in the Sunday's attack on a CRPF camp in Pulwama. The 16-year-old Fardeen Ahmad Khanday joined militancy only three months ago.

"How to control the tap (of joining the militancy) is our biggest challenge," said a source, linked to the security apparatus of the northern state.

Most of the recruitment took place in four districts of south Kashmir – Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag. Bulk recruitment, nearly 45 boys, happened in the Pulwama district where even a 15-year-old was lured into the terror trap.

All of these new recruits are not illiterate or school-kids, who just stepped into their teens. There are several graduates and post-graduates among them. Over the last 3-4 years, its been seen that educated youth from affluent families too join the ultras.

"In the last 10 years, the number of new recruits never crossed 150, But this time, it could be close," sources said.

Traditionally, December to February were low terror activity months in the state, the reason being winter. But this time, that tradtion was also breached, mainly with the aid of local recruits.

Sources said one of the reasons behind the open terror tap is the administration's failure to rein in on the religious preachers, who need to be engaged by the local police and para-military outfits.

Their influence is so strong on the younger generation that the number of boys, who gave up militancy and returned to the main stream is still in single digit. The year that went by saw a sharp increase in the military activity in Jammu and Kashmir.

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