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Encounters, killings fuel militant recruitment in Kashmir: Report

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Srinagar, May 30: Encounters between the militants and the government forces are a big cause of new inductions into the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, a media report said today.

Quoting from a report on militancy and recruitment in the region that has set stage for Ramazan ceasefire in the state, ‘Indian Express’ reported that almost half the recruitments into militant ranks in the Valley after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani came from within 10 km of the residences of killed militants or gunfight sites and these recruitments took place within 40 days of the encounters.

It said the report analysed 43 gunfights since November 05, 2016, until April 26 this year, in which 77 militants were killed.

After the death of Burhan Wani on July 08, 2016, 121 militants have been killed and 216 local youths joined militancy. Of these, 104 were directly linked to the killing of militants in their area or a killed militant belonged to their area.

The official report said that each gunfight sets off a surge in recruitments and new inductions into militancy far exceeds militants killed in operations rendering even successful counter-insurgency a zero-sum game.

“Militant killings anywhere trigger emotions across the Valley but in most cases, there is a strong correlation between the area of recruitment and number of militants killed from that area,” said the report.

“No wonder then that 67 of the 104 recruitments took place within 15 km from a killed militant’s residence, 48 of these were within a radius of 10 km.

“41 percent of all new recruits were within 10 km of the encounter site, 27 percent within 11 and 20 km and 18 percent between 10 and 15 km.”

The report quoting the Inspector General of J&K Police, Kashmir zone S P Pani said the increase in local recruitment into militancy has been the “biggest challenge”.

“We have been trying to dissuade local recruitment. Until now, 11 youngsters (who had joined militant ranks) have come back. Five (new recruits) were caught alive during encounters,’’ he said, adding “it is imperative that local recruitment is contained.”

The report on the trends in local militancy since 2016 suggests that there are a host of circumstances that “draw a correlation between the militants killed in encounters and the corresponding new inductions”.

Security agencies also indicated that funerals of killed militants witnessed pledges to join militancy, said the report.

“It has been observed that many a time, friends of killed militants manifest a tendency of pledging to join militancy on seeing the dead bodies and funerals of their friends.

For instance, during the Bamnoo encounter, which took place in Rajpora, Pulwama where Jahangir Khanday of Keller was killed, “his friend joined militant ranks on spot at the encounter site,” said the report.

“Large funerals of militants have also witnessed the presence of active militants who give gun salutes to their killed associates. The presence of militants in these funerals not only eulogises the deaths of militants but at the same time brings active militants into open interaction with civilians. Such an interaction is one of the first and important steps in facilitating recruitment,” the report says.

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