Indian Army has said that as many as 191 local youth joined militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in 2018 which is 65 more than 2017, reported the Press Trust of India.
The new recruits mostly hailed from the restive south Kashmir region, he added. “As many as 191 Kashmiri youths joined militancy in 2018,” an Army official told PTI.
In 2017, 126 locals had joined militant ranks, he said.
South Kashmir districts — Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag — have become a breeding ground for militants with many youths joining their rank and file, the officer added.
Outfits like the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Lashker-e- Taiba find more recruits, he said.
The official said out of the 191 recruits in 2018, 139 alone hailed from south Kashmir. The highest, 59, was from Pulwama, he added.
In 2016, the official said, 88 Kashmiri youths had joined militancy.
Since 2016, there has been a constant rise in the number of youths joining militancy, he added. As many as 66 youths joined militancy in Kashmir in 2015 and 53 in 2014.
In 2010, 54 youths had joined militancy, while in 2011 the number came down to 23. It further dipped to 21 in 2012 and 16 in 2013, the official said.
The data is based on technical and human intelligence, besides interrogation reports of militants arrested during various counter-insurgency operations in the valley, he added.
Recently, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GoC-in-C Northern Command had said that 2018 was ‘remarkable’ for the armed forces as more than 250 militants were killed, 54 were arrested alive and four surrendered.
“As per wireless and other intercepts, Pakistan army and militants suffered a huge loss in our retaliatory action.”
Recently, The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society in their annual report said that the year 2018 was the deadliest year of the last decade in Indian administered Kashmir as violence peaked during the year resulting in the killing of at least 586 people in different incidents of violence, which is highest in the last decade.
The Armed Forces have called the operation against militants in Kashmir as ‘Operation All-Out’. However, recently, Governor of JK Satya Pla Malik said that there was nothing like Operation All-Out.
“Some people are using this wrong term. We want these children (militants) to come back and we are ready to do what we can do for them,” he had said.
However, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) termed the assertions of Governor as far from realityand stated that Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat have time and again claimed that anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir were being carried out under “Operation All-Out.”
JRL in a statement said that as per the figures available with the resistance camp, 2018 witnessed worst ever rights violations in Kashmir in recent past, as 355 armed youth were martyred while as 161 civilians were also martyred.
“If this isn’t that operation all-out, then what is?, JRL asked.