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
                1. 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
                  1. R
                    Raj
                    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:42 pm
                    Get lost - those who get paid to comment - don't deceive your country.
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Raj
                      Oct 22, 2016 at 12:13 am
                      I personally think India should exploit this situation citing threat to lives lost and officially invade Kashmir and threaten to abrogate 370 officially - they can become militants - but this will come at a cost - whatever they have left will be lost.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;There should be an opportunity cost, if militancy is back, India will officially invade for good. So whatever they have left will be lost - think very carefully because Kashmiri actions will have consequences...
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Raj
                        Oct 22, 2016 at 12:05 am
                        I think this is over reported, firstly, the numbers simply do not support issues - 80 people were killed protesting alone, even if 80 join militancy, this number is insignificant. I think major urban centres in India have even more criminals - for Islamic majority territories, they should be considered as common dacoits or criminals. I doubt they can change anything, because these are illiterate folks with little or no future (they are probably with criminal records). Eventually, it will break down - the first thing Indian state should do is firstly, crush violence with brutal force to send a message in Kashmir - that violence cannot be used as a threat to force their hand. It is time to unleash the forces, good they are sacking some elements - they should start more arrests enm, force the separatist hands and make sure more such elements come out of hiding and join the militant faction.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;But, bottomline, I am sorry - 80 is a small number. You have more gangs with weapons in Mumbai or Lucknow. This is a sorry attempt to paint a different picture, as far as I see it, kindly ensure that those Kashmiri reporters working for you are properly vetted through.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;If it is war, then the state should ensure that this possibility is completely off the table. India cannot bow down to threat of violence.
                        Reply
                        1. A
                          A. M.
                          Oct 22, 2016 at 12:51 am
                          Incompetent chest thumping bjp will yield only failure for the nation.
                          Reply
                          1. G
                            Ganesh Dore
                            Oct 23, 2016 at 1:21 am
                            You have to stop the brainwashing at the Madrasa level . So many blog letters .. but no clear thinking .
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              Sriniwasan
                              Oct 22, 2016 at 4:43 am
                              Russian in Chechnya and China in Xianjing resolved it ruthlessly.It is only in India we have so many cooks making a JandK Kitchdi to be served to the newshungry media
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Sriniwasan
                                Oct 22, 2016 at 4:32 am
                                The report appears to be a mischevious and a pro stan propaa to boost the morale of the terrorists hiding inside JandK facing a certain elimination.lt;br/gt;At the outset how has the writer arrived at a figure of 80plus?In a potion of 2.5million a figure of 80plus can be considered at best a law and order issue which can be dealt at the local PSO.If the JandK Cops are hand in glove with the anti social and NC and Khangress politicians,no one can help the Kashmiris.lt;br/gt;If these school drop puts want a better economic life,JandK is a heaven on Earth to do great business.Even selling tea to the Soldiers will earn a good income,but these High school drop put wants to Kill others or get killed.It is fundamentalist religious teaching imparted by the frustrated from the place of worship the root cause.lt;br/gt;I am appalled by the fact,that stan is a Dark , and if any youth in POK takes up arms or fights the men in Uniform he is packed off to neither world?lt;br/gt;A point to introspect by this Pro stani Journalist to whom IE has lent a valuable space
                                Reply
                                1. L
                                  l s
                                  Oct 22, 2016 at 1:09 am
                                  Make these youngsters into adults by preparing 6 feet graves for them.lt;br/gt;That's the only suitable place for them.lt;br/gt;Don't spare even one of these anti-nationals and pro pak people.lt;br/gt;Even plan to take action on their parents for this.
                                  Reply
                                  1. K
                                    kvl
                                    Oct 22, 2016 at 2:13 am
                                    "150 militants infiltrated into kashmir"in these three months. Then what is the state government doing?Then why surgical operations if we cannot face the infiltrators in Kashmir itself?.Why cant shoot at sight?how can they attack police stations and take away any weapon?Some connivence with militants.The state government proves inefficient.
                                    Reply
                                    1. P
                                      Pmg Pillai
                                      Oct 21, 2016 at 11:55 pm
                                      Here the situation is unpredictble as there are numerous anti indi forces working right nidewith ot leting their true colour and they ad the militns hence unlss teseforces are isolated and thenonly proper resut cnbeachieved in th field it w teore te dated satudayoctber 22nd 2016 tim0535h
                                      Reply
                                      1. R
                                        rajendra
                                        Oct 22, 2016 at 2:47 am
                                        DEAL ALL INDIANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF ANTI INDIAN (PRO STAN) CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BY THE INDIAN EXPRESS GROUP AND NDTV (ESPECIALLY BURQAA DUTT) AND PRO CHINA CAMPAIGN BY THE HINDU NEWS PAPERS TO CREATE UNREST IN THE COUNTYlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;I APPEAL TO ALL RIGHT THINKING INDIANS TO UNITE AND DEFEAT THESE FORCES AND TEACH THEM A LESSON
                                        Reply
                                        1. S
                                          sajeev
                                          Oct 22, 2016 at 3:41 am
                                          What do you want??? Hindus should give up their right to live peacefully in lands of their ancestors??? Democracy, secularism, etc. are two streets mate.
                                          Reply
                                          1. B
                                            B
                                            Oct 22, 2016 at 2:58 am
                                            When the male youth of Kashmir are joining militant organizations in such large numbers, they cannot expect to be spared by the security forces. The question is - how are the routes to infiltrate into India still open? How do we know we are gaining or losing ground against militancy in Kashmir?
                                            Reply
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