In what could be a serious concern for the government and security agencies, as many as 45 youth have joined different militant outfits this year, most of them in post-Burhan killing phase in Kashmir.
Police records accessed by Greater Kashmir reveal that this year, 55 local youth have gone missing from different parts of Kashmir of whom "45 have jointed different militant outfits."
The addition of 45 more youth to the militant ranks, police records mention, has brought the total number of local active militants to 122, "besides over hundred foreign militants operating in different districts of Kashmir."
From the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama, police records suggest that 32 youth have joined different militant outfits. The records suggest that from the central and north Kashmir 23 are missing, among them 13 have joined militancy.
The data compiled by police reveals that 32 youth have gone missing in south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama and the sub district of Awantipora. "Whereas 22 youth are missing from north Kashmir comprising of Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara and sub districts of Sopore and Handwara," reveals the data.
It adds that out of these 32 missing youth, 10 youth hailing from Kulgam district and nine from neighboring Shopian have joined militant ranks. The assessment further reveals that six youth from Pulwama and three from its police district Awantipora have joined militant ranks. Pertinently, these are the areas, which have remained embroiled with street protests and violent clashes ever since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.
J&K Special Director General of Police (Law and Order), Dr SP Vaid admitted that youth have joined militancy. "It is over 45. We are trying to bring them back," Vaid told Greater Kashmir. "Snatched weapon is mostly with them."
"We are investigating about others who are still missing," a top police official told Greater Kashmir, adding that the weapons snatched in south Kashmir are in the hands of these youth.
"To nab them we have started progressive anti-militancy operations," he said, adding that the three youth from Awantipora sub-district have gone missing and they all hail from Pampore area of Pulwama district.
The police data reveals that eight youth have gone missing from volatile Sopore belt, followed by six youth missing from Baramulla area. "In central Kashmir comprising three districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam two youth have gone missing," the police official said adding that they are investigating, where they are.
Pertinently, there has been an increase in the number of incidents of rifle snatching in the south Kashmir district and at least 37 weapons have been snatched by militants to replenish their dwindling arsenal and arm the new recruits.
Police records maintain that in year 2013, 20 youth, in 2014, 56 and in 2015, 69 joined militancy.