Forces worried as more locals join jehad
Despite upping its ante against the top commanders of pro-Pakistan terrorist outfits and eliminating over 100 terrorists, including infiltrators, from January 1 till date, the security forces are facing the stark reality of coming face to face with large number of local youths picking up the guns in Kashmir Valley.
In comparison to previous year when over 100 local youths had joined ranks of different terror outfits, this year the security forces and different Intelligence agencies have estimated that almost 200 have so far picked up the guns to wage “jehad” against the Indian forces.
According to field reports, the last one quarter has witnessed sudden upsurge in the wake of hot pursuit adopted by the security forces.
“Many local youths, including some teenagers, have joined terrorist ranks in the first half of this year and are associated with Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba,” official sources revealed.
Around this time, the security forces had launched massive cordon and search operation (CASO) in parts of South Kashmir to flush these terrorists from their “safe” hideouts.
Adopting “hot pursuit” several most wanted terrorists on the hit list of security forces were eliminated in surgical operations across South Kashmir districts of Shopian, Kulgam, Pulwama and Anantnag between April and June 2017.
Huge turnout at funeral processions of local terrorists shows that locals sympathise with their evil design to wage war against India. Dealing with such elements is a big challenge.
Presence of gun-toting terrorist commanders and their sympathisers have become a constant source of embarrassment as they roam freely and vanish in thin area without coming on the radar of security forces.
In the first week of May 2017, Inspector General of Police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Ravideep Sahi had dropped clear hints when he told media persons, “South Kashmir was “hot” on terrorist front as local youth continue to join militant ranks”.
In the aftermath of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in Kashmir, 95 local had joined ranks of terrorist outfits.
On July 3, a State police spokesman had issued a statement claiming at least 54 youths were prevented from joining terrorist ranks in Valley in the last few months.
According to the J&K Police spokesman, 28 youth were arrested from Baramulla, Kupwara, Sopore, Handwara and Bandipora areas of north Kashmir.
He said 13 youth were arrested from central Kashmir including Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal. “13 youth were also arrested from Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian, Awantipora and Kulgam in south Kashmir.”
According to police data, over 250 terrorists are presently active in the Valley. Out of these, over 120 terrorist are in south Kashmir and about 100 are in North Kashmir.
In south Kashmir, most of the terrorists are locals while in North Kashmir, majority of them are foreigners.
Security experts claimed terrorists have managed to recruit majority of local youth through sustained coercion.
Sustained social media campaign and propaganda against the Indian security forces helped handlers of different militant outfits win over the support of local youth.
Intelligence reports also claimed, “Over 20 heavily armed terrorists may have successfully infiltrated via Poonch and sneaked in to Kashmir Valley via South Kashmir district of Shopian in the wake of repeated ceasefire violations in Poonch sector.
Security forces have been keeping close watch on the funerals of top commanders to track down movement of freshly recruited local terrorists in order to convince them to surrender and join the mainstream.
Security forces have been making regular appeals at various encounter sites to these terrorists to lay down their arms and even asking their close relatives including parents but in vain. Only two local boys who after joining ranks of terrorist outfits have so far surrendered before the security forces.
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