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Kashmir witness a rise in local youth-driven terrorism

Last Updated on December 14, 2020 at 2:02 pm

In the last decade, 2020 witnessed the second-highest recruitment of terrorists in the last decade. Police data accessed by The Print states that 190 terrorists were killed by security forces in this year. At least 148 locals became terrorists this year with over two dozen youths missing who might be involved with terrorist organizations.

Last year, 126 locals joined terrorism. In 2018, the highest number of local residents pick up arms in the decade with a number of 199. In 2017, the number for the same was 139. A decade back in 2010, 54 locals had joined terrorism. This number saw a steep decline in three next consecutive years with 23,21 and 6.

A senior police officer told The Print that Hizbul Mujahideen’s Burhan Wani was a major reason behind the rise in youth joining terrorists.

A second senior official said that 57 locals became terrorist in the three months of August, September and October which is the highest recruitment terrorists since 2017. During the same period in the last three years, 32, 42 and 20 youth joined the terrorist cells, respectively.

Radha Kumar, former director-general of Delhi Policy Group, said she was not surprised to see this growth in terrorist recruitment. She said that this number could see further growth if lack of political dialogue persists.

She pointed out that after allegations of rigged elections in 1986-87, terrorism in the form of militancy broke out in two-three years. After the abrogation of J&K special status (on 5 August 2019), resentment in Kashmir would have increased and this would have further led to a renewal in the insurgency.

She said that since there is no political dialogue (on Kashmir), not even assembly elections, this will only deepen the wounds. Only local administration elections are taking place while major issues are being ignored.

A senior police officer said that Burhan Wani and his group have ended the veil of anonymity attached to Kashmiri terrorism by posing with their weapons and sharing images on social media platforms which glamourise insurgency.

He said that we are at a time when we have eliminated almost all of the militants of the Burhan Wani times. There are no popular faces of terrorists which could attract more youth. The officer added that tactics like high-profile assassinations and attacks could be the next phase of Kashmir insurgency, which will be led by “faceless commanders”.