Army to stop recruitment into militancy in Kashmir

Army to stop recruitment into militancy in Kashmir

Nearly 110 local youths have joined militancy in the first six months of the year while the number was 126 during 2017.

The total number of active militants in Kashmir was between 270 and 300, most of whom are locals.
Highlights: 
Data compiled by Jammu and Kashmir's Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) revealed that 20 local youths joined militancy in May this year, while the number rose to 27 in June.
Nearly 110 local youths have joined militancy in the first six months of the year while the number was 126 during 2017.
The total number of active militants in Kashmir is between 270 and 300, most of whom are locals. 

With the recruitment of local youths into militancy on the rise, the top brass of the army and the Jammu and Kashmir police are devising a strategy to plug the loopholes to stop the trend.

Data compiled by Jammu and Kashmir's Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) revealed that 20 local youths joined militancy in May this year, while the number rose to 27 in June. Nearly 110 local youths have joined militancy in the first six months of the year while the number was 126 during 2017. The total number of active militants in Kashmir is between 270 and 300, most of whom are locals. 

The young boys, who are joining militant groups like indigenous Hizbul Mujahideen, Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are mainly from the districts of Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag and Kulgam in south Kashmir – the epicentre of new age militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Hizbul recently released photographs of over 30 gun-wielding youth on the second anniversary of Burhan Wani death in a bid to convey that they had “30 new recruits”, among whom is an Unani doctor, the brother of IPS officer Inamulhaq Mengnoo.

On Tuesday, state police chief Shesh Pal Vaid, General Officer Commanding of army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lieutenant General A K Bhat and other top police and army officers met in Kulgam to work out a joint strategy to stop the recruitment of local boys into militant ranks. 

“We discussed the issue of local recruitment and to find ways to how we can counter it,” Lt Bhat told reporters after emerging from the meeting, the first in recent times attended by almost all sector commanders of the army and police chiefs of southern Kashmir districts.

Vaid said the basic purpose of the meeting was to talk to ground level officers. “We also took stock of the situation and see how the police headquarters can help them in normalizing the situation in south Kashmir,” he said.

An officer privy to the developments in the meeting said the special focus was on how to stop youth from joining militancy. “The meeting unanimously decided to engage the youth through a mass contact program in various recreational activities with the active involvement of local media so that they stay away from militancy,” he said.

It was also decided that parents of the youth who have picked up arms will be requested to appeal to their children to return back and live a peaceful life, he added.

The spurt in locals joining militancy began after the killing of Burhan Wani in an encounter in south Kashmir on 8 July 2016. “The present-day militants are far superior to their counterparts who joined the militancy in the early 1990s. 2018 may end up as the worst year in terms of the number of local youths joining militancy,” the officer added.

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