February 2018 News

44% Rise In Local Youth Joining Militant Ranks Last Year: CM

6 February 2018
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: Kashmir last year saw rise by 44 per cent in local youths joining militancy from 2016, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Tuesday. Mufti said 126 youths joined militant groups in 2017, 38 more than the previous year. Her version, however, contradicts the statement of J&K police chief S P Vaid, who last month downplayed Home Ministry reports that there had been a sharp spike in the number of young Kashmiris joining militant groups in 2017. Going by Mufti's data, 2017 has emerged as the year of highest recruitment of youth in various militant groups in the last seven years. Such data is available from 2010. 'As many as 66 youths joined militancy in 2015, 88 in 2016 and 126 in 2017,' the CM said while replying to a written question by National Conference leader Ali Mohammed Sagar. After Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed on July 8, 2016, there has been a marked increase in the number of Kashmiri youths joining militant organisations. According to data placed before Parliament in March last year, there has been a steady increase in the number of youths taking up arms in the Valley from 2014 onwards - as compared to 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2010, 54 youths joined militancy. This dipped to 23 in 2011 and slipped further to 21 in 2012 and 16 in 2013. In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and went up to 66 in 2015 before touching 88 in 2016, according to the data. Security officials feel there is a difference between present day militants and those of the early 1990s. The ideological conviction of the present lot is stronger than that of the militant groups during the early days, they said. The trend of locals joining militancy has been mostly from southern districts of Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag, the bastion of ruling Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP). On Sagar's other question in the Assembly related to number of persons detained in the past three years, the Chief Minister said 2,694 people, including 96 women, are lodged in different jails of the state to prevent them from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state or maintenance of the public order.