J&K police, govt face twin challenges: On margins of protests, spurt in militancy

J&K Police records show that less than 70 local militants were active in south Kashmir before the protests began. The number has doubled in three months.

Written by Bashaarat Masood , Sofi Ahsan | Kulgam | Published:October 22, 2016 3:58 am
jammu kashmir, j&K, kashmir, kashmir unrest, kashmir govt, j&k police, kashmir protests, kashmir insurgency, jammu kashmir protests, jammu kashmir unsurgency, jammu news, kashmir news, india news Security personnel keep vigil in Srinagar on Friday. (PTI Photo)

With protests in the Valley crossing 100 days, police in J&K fear that the unrest triggered by the killing of militant Burhan Wani in July may have prompted a fresh batch of youths to join the militancy from south Kashmir.

Police sources say more than 80 youngsters have joined militant ranks from south Kashmir since the protests began three months ago. This trend, they say, is evident in the rising number of incidents of police stations being attacked and weapons taken away in the region.

In contrast, sources said, the militancy in north Kashmir is fuelled by those infiltrating from across the border who focus on attacks such as the one on the Army camp in Uri last month in which 18 soldiers died.

“The situation is still not clear but initial reports suggest that more than 80 boys have joined the militants after the protests began. There are reports of large-scale recruitment in south Kashmir, especially Kulgam. There are chances that some of these youths may return to their homes once the situation normalises,” says a top police officer in the state, on condition of anonymity.

J&K Police records, accessed by The Indian Express, show that less than 70 local militants were active in south Kashmir before the protests began. The number has doubled in three months, records show.

When contacted, DIG (South Kashmir) Nitish Kumar said he did not agree with the assessment that the protests have fuelled militancy in the Valley. “I don’t think so. The people of Kashmir are very intelligent,” said Kumar.

However, last month witnessed more than seven attacks on police posts in south Kashmir, with militants snatching at least 28 weapons, mostly Kalashnikov guns.

“They are desperately looking for weapons for their new recruits. That’s why they are taking advantage of these protests and attacking police posts,” says a police officer posted in south Kashmir, on condition of anonymity.

The officer says that while militants linked to the Hizbul Mujahideen, which forms the bulk of militants operating in south Kashmir, take any weapon they can lay their hands on, the Lashkar-e-Taiba “are choosy”.

“In one case, Lashkar militants fled with four AK rifles but handed back an Insas rifle to policemen. These militants have ammunition for AK rifles,” said the officer.

The trend is also reflected in the language used by youths in some villages in south Kashmir, especially words like “activate” while referring to those joining the militancy. “When they (militants) need the active services of someone, they activate him and he goes underground,” says a 22-year-old man from Khudwani village of Kulgam.

Police sources say that at least three youths from Srinagar are active militants in Kulgam while another militant commander from central Kashmir, too, has shifted base to this district.

One of the faces behind this resurgence, police sources say, is a Hizbul Mujahideen commander identified as Sheikh Abass, a resident of Rampur, who returned to militancy after completing a seven-year jail term three years ago.
Abass is the father of two daughters and two sons, whose two brothers and a nephew were killed in encounters with security forces. Another nephew of Abass is believed to be an active militant operating in south Kashmir, said sources.

“There are around 80 youngsters in our village. At least 40 of them are ready to become mujahids. They just need a nod and a weapon,” says a 26-year-old resident of Rampur village of Kulgam.

“The new generation has witnessed it all, they will not forget what has been done,” says a 30-year-old resident of Redwani village in Kulgam.

Detailing the big picture, police sources said that more than 150 militants may have infiltrated in the past three months from across the border in north Kashmir, especially in the Uri and Kupwara sectors, said sources.

Some of these militants have moved to Srinagar and its surrounding areas, said sources. And this, they say, is reflected in increased militant activity in north Kashmir, where militants have stormed the Army camp in Uri, attacked a battalion HQ in Baramulla and another camp in Langate. Security convoys in Baramulla and Handwara have been attacked, too.

Seven attacks, guns taken

Aug 31, Kulgam: 4 rifles taken from house of PDP RS MP Nazir Ahmad Laway
Sept 5, Kulgam: 1 rifle snatched guards of CPM leader Ali Mohamad Koka
Sept 8, Kulgam: 4 rifles stolen from guard room of NC leader Abdul Rashid Khanday
Sept 18, Anantnag: 4 rifles taken from policemen guarding PDP leader Javed Sheikh
Oct 3, Kulgam: 5 rifles snatched from police post
Oct 8, Pulwama: 2 rifles taken from police post
Oct 17, Anantnag: 5 rifles snatched from policemen at TV transmission tower

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  1. I
    IML sood
    Oct 22, 2016 at 12:34 am
    The reporters are only trying to spread panic by presumptions and imagination, may be on bidding of certain elements as there is no dearth of such elements. Here is a 'patriot' named person, totally faked ideny always anti national comments and DNA test can well estabish that this patriotism is not for this country but for Pak.Do we not suppose to take action first to expose such low lying dangers among us and deal with them effectively fact such anti nationals had fertile ground during long Cong. rule which has to be smashed at all cost.
    Reply
    1. R
      Romik
      Oct 22, 2016 at 12:32 am
      Ask Russia what they do with this kind of people.
      Reply
      1. Z
        zeed
        Oct 22, 2016 at 4:37 am
        Nice justification to kill off more. Planted news.
        Reply
        1. Z
          zeed
          Oct 22, 2016 at 4:40 am
          handing over foreign affairs to India was a mistake. Himdoo slave is a coward. No legs to fight china. lt;br/gt;But they will readily stab the Muslim neighbor. lt;br/gt;There is so much darkness in the heart of a hidnoo that no light can penetrate
          Reply
          1. M
            module
            Oct 22, 2016 at 4:24 am
            It's not now, since beginning, JK youth and some political parties are involved with terrorist groups plus Pak army. Unless insider involvements, pak army or terrorist can not anything. We must identify those culprits first, then proceed further.
            Reply
            1. A
              Anil Bharali
              Oct 22, 2016 at 1:42 am
              BJP is not able to handle the issues of democratic India with colonial Hindu mindset it is almost apparent. Are they capable of reading the writings of the wall ?? India is verse of collapse if it hast to run in this Hindu majority's tyrannical mindset in stead of democratic republic consutional norms.
              Reply
              1. A
                Anil Bharali
                Oct 22, 2016 at 1:42 am
                BJP is not able to handle the issues of democratic India with colonial Hindu mindset it is almost apparent. Are they capable of reading the writings of the wall ?? India is verse of collapse if it hast to run in this Hindu majority's tyrannical mindset in stead of democratic republic consutional norms.
                Reply
              2. R
                Raj
                Oct 22, 2016 at 12:08 am
                And let them 'snatch' weapons - because guns mean nothing, eventually, they will run out of bullets - so, how do they get new ammunition? From the other side of the LOC? So, basically, whatever the strategy, they are out in the open anyways. Be careful of Kashmiri reporters trying to paint a different picture - remember, 80 people out of 12.55 million people is a SMALL number!lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;80 out of 12.55 million is statistically insignificant. Guns need ammunitions - and they need maintenance equipment! So, the numbers are absurd, these Kashmiri reporters are over reporting the problem.
                Reply
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