101 militants killed in Kashmir in 2019; 50 youth join militant ranks
Srinagar, Jun 02: Over 100 militants, including 23 foreigners, have been killed in Kashmir in the first five months of 2019, but what is keeping the security establishment worried is the large number of new recruits, officials said Sunday.
According to them, 50 youngsters have joined various militant outfits since March and the security establishment needs to find a better way to cut off the supply chain and can even consider educating families on “radicalization” of the youth.
The officials said 101 militants — 23 foreigners and 78 local militants — were killed in 2019 till May 31. They include top commanders such as Zakir Musa, the chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
However, there is a sudden surge of militants from Hizbul Mujahideen joining Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, especially after the killing of Musa on May 23, they said.
The officials, many of whom are engaged in either fighting militancy on the ground or formulating strategy, believe there is a need for having a re-look at all anti-militancy policy and for engaging with youths and parents to educate them about “evils of radicalization”.
Among the militants killed, Shopian accounted for a maximum of 25, including 16 local militants. Pulwama was second with the killings of 15 militants, followed by Awantipora with 14 and Kulgam with 12.
However, all these highly-volatile areas in south Kashmir continue to contribute more youths to various militant groups.
The officials said infiltration was also picking up and some of the militants had managed to sneak in from Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu region as well as from the LoC in Kashmir Valley. This created a more alarming situation for the security forces which were readying themselves for the two-month-long Amarnath Yatra beginning this month-end.
There has been a steady rise in the number of youths taking up arms in the Valley since 2014 onwards as compared to 2010-2013 when the figures stood at 54, 23, 21 and 6 respectively.
In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and in 2015, it reached 66 before touching the highest mark of 88 in 2016, data presented in Parliament earlier showed.
After the February 14 suicide strike in Pulwama, the officials feel, encounters between militants and security forces have turned into spectacles with protests and stone pelting by locals at sites, followed by large gatherings at funerals. “The entire phenomenon has the potential to create an emotionally charged environment ideal for recruiting fresh cadres,” they added.