Srinagar: At least 40 young men have joined the militant ranks in Kashmir this year with another 50 missing, The Print reported quoting official sources.
The report said several among the missing are suspected to have joined militancy but have not been included in the official count by the officials as the recruitment is not established yet.
Quoting a senior-level official source, the report said: “This year there have been around 40 who have joined militant groups, basically the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Al-Badr. However, around 50 are still missing.”
Another arm of the defence and security apparatus, which is involved in counterinsurgency operations, verified the trend of recruiting, the report said.
“All the traditional militant groups, which were operating from Pakistan with the direct support of the ISI, like the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), Jaish-eMohammad have now got frontal organisations with peculiar names to showcase that Pakistan has no role in the terror activities in Kashmir,” the report said quoting another official source, adding “The Resistance Front (TRF), which is a front for LeT, has attracted the majority of the new members”.
Furthermore, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen’s infamous 313 Brigade has been transformed into the Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force, the report said.
The Lashkar-e-Mustafa is a JeM front that rose to prominence after the Pulwama incident in 2019. Hizbul’s recruitment and operations are shrinking.
Meanwhile, the report said Hizbul Mujahideen’s operations and recruiting have slowed, owing to tensions at its headquarters in Pakistan administrated Kashmir,
Since its formation in 1989 by Kashmiris who crossed over to PaK for weaponry training, the Hizbul Mujahideen is widely thought to be homegrown.
The report quoting sources said there is widespread discontent within the ranks in PaK, with many who crossed over now working regular jobs to make ends meet.
“As per inputs, the salaries paid to the HM cadres in PaK have not been revised for several years. Salaries still range from about Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 10,000-11,000 (about Rs 6,000) for single men to about PKR 17,000 for those with family,” the source was quoted as saying.
Even if there isn’t a surge in recruiting, insiders in the security establishment says that the ongoing recruitment is a matter of concern.
These recruits, according to the report, don’t even have arms initially and many of them after two weeks or so get pistols. In many military operations since last year, pistols have been recovered from the slain militants.
Meanwhile, the government of India is developing a surrender policy for new recruits, which the home and defence ministries have yet to finalise, the report said.
131 Kashmiri youngsters had joined militancy in 2020, the report said quoting official statistics, as of early October. This was an increase from the 117 new hires in 2019.
In 2018, 214 young people joined militant ranks, the highest level of recruitment in recent years.