Youth Taking Up Arms Big Concern: Saha

Says ‘wait and watch’ on NSA level talks 

TANGMARG: Army said today that the trend of youngsters taking up arms was a serious concern and that the security agencies need to remain alert to it.

“From 2015 until now, as per our reports, the recruitment is somewhere between 30-40.  If you compare it with 2014, it is almost comparable because all of 2014, 64 youngsters were recruited. But then it is much higher than 2012 and 2013. It is certainly an area of concern,” General Officer-in Command (GoC) 15 corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha said on the sidelines of a functionheretoday.

Saha was replying to a question about the reports of increased number of youth joining militancy and the speculated recruitment rally in the restive Tral town by the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Ahmad Wani on August 21.

“Equally important is that since the beginning of the year, 38 boys, who had joined militancy have also come back. And that coming back is I think a very positive sign because the parents are informing us almost immediately when the child goes missing,” he said.

He credited their return to their parents and the Jammu and Kashmir Police saying that the state police was working hard on their return with army’s support.

“As far as the recruitment rally is concerned, we have no report about it. The larger point, however is that any youth joining militancy is a cause of concern for us. And obviously, all agencies have to be conscious of it,”

Asked if Burhan and his associates and their glamour on social media were ‘a headache’ for the army in south Kashmir, GoC said that the young militants were not a headache but a cause of concern.

“Certainly this social media pictures is a new dimension. What happens that electronic media picks from social media and later print media picks from electronic. In this process, it is getting hype much more than the reality,” Saha said.

He said those people were wrong who claimed that the glamorization of militants on social media will lead to more recruitment. 

“It didn’t happen. Like last year, the figures of recruitment are same,” he said.

When asked about the situation on the LoC in Valley in the backdrop of alleged ceasefire violations in Jammu, the GoC said that attempts were being made by the militants to sneak into the Valley.

“Intensity of attempts compared to last year is higher because since27 May end till now, there have been 11 attempts, 19 militants have been eliminated trying to infiltrate,” he said.

He said that the counter infiltration grid, which has evolved over the years, has been made more robust.

“And secondly we have made some changes this year because we have proved our coordination with regard to intelligence. Surveillance grid has also been made pretty smartened up to be sure we don’t miss anything. It is working very fine,” he said.

“And also we have made some changes in troop deployment. So far it is working very well. And by all estimates, zero infiltration,” he added.

The senior army commander evaded a question when asked about the army’s expectations from the NSA level talks between India and Pakistan.

“It is too early to start commenting. Let’s wait and watch,” he said.

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