Blame Game In Jammu And Kashmir Over Youth Joining Militancy

29 July 2015
India Today
Naseer Ganai

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir state government and the opposition National Conference are crossing swords over the reported tendency of young people in the state to join militancy. While the National Conference working president Omar Abdullah believes that the alliance between Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party is one of the reasons behind the trend, the ruling dispensation has rejected that claim. According to the state police, since January of 2015, about 33 youth have joined militancy. Of them, 30 were from south Kashmir, three were from north Kashmir. No one has joined militancy from Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal. Rejecting Omar's charge, the state government said that alienation during the National Conference rule has led to the present situation. 'Whatever Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq Abdullah have stated on the issue is not based on facts. Last year more boys joined militancy than reported this year in spite of preoccupation of the society with floods and its aftermath,' government spokesman Naeem Akhtar told Mail Today. He said six years of 'Omar Abdullah's misrule, corruption, destruction of system by him and his government were responsible for whatever alienation that exists in Jammu and Kashmir'. During Omar's rule, Akhtar said, Jammu and Kashmir saw complete reversal of political engagement in Kashmir started during the PDP's rule in 2002. 'The development plans were made hostage to Omar Abdullah's survival and his chair, and in the mad pursuit of National Conference to secure at least some seats in the last Assembly elections,' Akhtar added. Omar's government, Akhtar alleged, bungled relief items, created fake administrative units, opened non-existent schools and left behind a deficit of '10,000 crore. He alleged that Omar's government created a huge army of employees in the name of seasonal and casual employees. 'Previous government's approach has led to alienation among the youths,' Akhtar added. The current government, he said, was engaged in long-term reforms from the grassroots and people have started seeing merit in it. At present, the number of militants in north Kashmir are 69. In south there are 60 militants. In south Kashmir presence of local militants is predominant. For the past two months these militants are posting their photographs and videos, brandishing AK-47 rifles, on social networking site Facebook, which the police see as an attempt to glorify militancy to attract more youths. NC working president Omar had earlier said that a possible reason for the 'new wave of armed insurgency' in Kashmir 'could be the formation of PDP-BJP alliance'. Citing example from history, Omar said militancy first erupted in the Valley soon after an accord between his father, Farooq Abdullah and the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, in 1987. On his part, Farooq Abdullah said young men are picking up arms 'to fight the wrong policies of the present dispensation which has resulted in fundamentalism and radicalisation among the youths.' Omar said the trend of young and educated youths joining the militants was dangerous and his party will discuss the issue. 'But the larger responsibility is on the present government. The government should not hide anything on this issue,' Omar said.