28 youth join militant ranks this month in South Kashmir

Srinagar—At least 28 youth from South Kashmir have joined militancy this month-the largest ever number since the death of popular militant commander Burhan Wani in June 2016.

Highly placed sources said that since April 1, the day when in three different en­counters at Shopian and An­antnag, 13 militants and 4 ci­vilians were killed, at least 28 youth from Kulgam, Pulwa­ma and Shopian have joined militant ranks. Majority of them hail from Pulwama dis­trict. Sources added that no youth from Anantnag district has joined the militancy this month. Most of these youth have joined militant outfit Hizbul Mujhadeen followed by Jaish-e-Muhammad.

Contrary to their belief and perception, Security Agencies have started showing concern over the new trend of youth mostly educated ones joining militancy. A security official wishing not to be named said that they have already taken up the matter with New Delhi and means and ways are being devised that could repel youth from militancy. “Of course, it is a serious issue that needs to be tackled. We had thought that Kachidoora and Dragadh encounters will make youth re-think of joining any mili­tant organization but every­thing has backfired,” he told news agency CNS.

Reliable sources said that a large number of youth who are keen to join militancy are unable to do so because militant organizations have been facing acute shortage of weapons. “The weapon snatching incidents indicate that militant outfits are fac­ing shortage of arms. This weapon snatching scenario can be viewed from other angle as well. Usually, new entrants are being tasked to snatch rifles from secu­rity men. Recent incident, in which new recruits from Hiz­bul Mujhadeen snatched four assault rifles from security men guarding a temple near Hyderpora, Srinagar proves our point,” the official said.

If sources are to be be­lieved, security agencies have been facing another challenge on part of general public who usually emerge near encoun­ter sites to ensure militants break the cordon. “In such a scenario, civilians get killed which is a grave concern. Killing a man, holding an AK- 47 assault rifle can be justi­fied but civilian killings can’t be justified, though most of the civilians get killed near encounters sites are chronic stone-pelters.”

Besides, cease fire viola­tions from Pakistan, in the first four months of the cur­rent year, there has been al­ready 35 gunfights in which 141 persons including 51 militants, 46 Forces person­nel and 44 civilians have lost their lives. Out of the 46 Forces personnel who were killed, 26 were Army soldiers, 13 policemen, 3 CRPF person­nel and 4 BSF Jawans. (CNS)

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