82 Kashmiri youth join militants in six months

At least 82 Kashmiri youth embraced militancy in the troubled Valley in the first six months of 2018, setting off alarm bells in the security establishment, which has adopted strong arm tactics to quell the violence.

The security agencies killed 101 terrorists during the same period. But that did not deter the youth from picking up guns. Many of them did so in an emotionally charged state after attending the funerals of their friends and relatives.

Burials of the militants killed in encounters often turn out to be the trigger for a youngster to join militancy. Radical preaching often acts as a contributing factor for the rise in the number of new recruits.

When 13 terrorists were killed on April 1, the burials were attended by the locals in large numbers. Swayed by emotion, many gullible youth decided almost on the spot to cross over, sources said, adding most of the new recruitment took place in Shopian and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir. At least 20 individuals from each of the two districts joined the ultras in the last few weeks.

Cannon fodder

But because of their poor training, most of the locals become cannon fodder when security agencies launch specialised anti-terror operations. Out of 101 terrorists killed in 2018, only 27 are foreigners, which means 74 young lives were lost within months of declaring jihad.

Since the killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016, security agencies have struggled to stop the inflow of  youth, mostly from South Kashmir, to militant outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen. With each passing day, the worries grow as the cycle of violence continues.

Rising trend

Last year, 128 local youth were recruited by the militants, though nearly 200 terrorists were killed. In comparison, the number of local recruits in 2016 and 2015 were 88 and 66 respectively. This year, at least 25 youths jumped the fence in April, 10-14 in May and another 20 odd in June.

These issues came up during last week's review meeting in Srinagar, chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials.

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82 Kashmiri youth join militants in six months

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