The Jammu and Kashmir police have weaned away at least 10 youth in north Kashmir from militancy and allowed them to go back home after counseling, reveals a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) report, the Indian Express reported today. The report says that at least 13 youth had joined the militant ranks in north Kashmir out of which 10 were counseled to return home, the newspaper added.
This is in contrast to south Kashmir, where forces have upped their ante against top militants, the report quoted officials as saying.
“Unlike South Kashmir, parents and guardians in north (Kashmir) immediately alert local police the moment their children join terrorist organisations. This helps the cops to track them immediately before they are completely radicalised,” a senior official was quoted as saying.
However, central intelligence agency officials say while militancy in south Kashmir is predominantly local, north is dominated by foreign militants from Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK), the report said.
“The militants in north Kashmir are well-trained and equipped as compared to their counterparts in south Kashmir. And only a small number of parents report about their children as they fear the police may harass the family”, the report quotes intelligence officials as saying.
Besides those let off after counseling, as many as 45 youths have been arrested in north Kashmir till July 2017 with the maximum number from Baramulla (15), added officials, the report said.
Out of those arrested, 22 youths left home to join Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), 21 others owed their allegiance to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) while two joined the ranks of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in the valley, the report said.
Among those arrested, 22 were over ground workers (OGWs) mostly belonging to Lashkar and HM, while others were new recruits, the report added.
“One of them, Shahbaz Rasool Mir, was categorised as ‘A’ category militant. He was arrested by Jammu and Kashmir Police from Bandipora in July this year,” the newspaper said.
As per the data available with the Home Ministry, as many as 117 militants (in entire Kashmir) have been killed in encounters with government forces this year, which include six top militants namely LeT’s Abu Dujana, LeT commander Bashir Lashkari and Abu Haris and Burhan Wani’s successor Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), among others, the report said.
According to police, 38 militants from Lashkar, 37 from Hizbul and 42 unidentified militants were killed during the operations till July this year. Most of the encounters took place in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag, apart from Bandipora and Kupwara in north Kashmir and Budgam in central Kashmir, officials told the newspaper.