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115 and counting: Why the massive terror recruitment drive in Kashmir is worrisome

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    Srinagar, July 31: The security forces will take necessary steps to tackle the menace of youth joining terror groups in Jammu and Kashmir. The number of recruitments this year until July 15 stood at a whopping 115.

    115 and counting: Why the massive terror recruitment drive in Kashmir is worrisome

    Shopian which, the epi-centre of the problem recorded the most number of recruitments at 28. The recruitments have been higher this year. Last year a total of 126 locals had joined terror outfits.

    The data compiled by the security agencies show that the south of Kashmir continues to be most volatile, Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag and Awantipora posed the most problems where recruitments are concerned.

    Ironically the recruitments this year were also made in large numbers into Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, backed by the Al-Qaeda and the Kashmir-ISIS. Data suggests that 91 joined groups such as the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Tayiba while the remaining were recruited into the Ansar and Kashmir ISIS.

    Security officials tell OneIndia that urgent and stringent action is the need of the hour.

    The figure has already touched 115 and it is only July. If the trend continues, the figure will shoot up and beat last year's recruitment into terror groups which stood at 126. The statistics for 2017 was in fact the highest since 2010, the data presented in the state assembly and Parliament suggested.

    There has been a steady rise in the number of youths taking up arms in the Valley since 2014 as compared to the period from 2010 to 2013 when the figures stood at 54, 23, 21 and 6 respectively.

    In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and in 2015, it reached 66 while in 2016, the figure was 88, the data showed.

    This year, youths who joined militancy included Junaid Ashraf Sehrai, 26, an MBA degree holder from Kashmir University, and son of Mohammed Ashraf Sehrai, who took over as chairman of the Tehrek-e-Hurriyat from Syed Ali Shah Geelani. The list also included 26-year-old PhD scholar Mannan Bashir Wani, hailing from Kupwara, the officials said. Wani was studying in Aligarh Muslim University.

    The IB warns that this trend is likely to continue. With the elections in Pakistan over, the army there would look to make a fresh push and this could spruce the recruitments in the Valley. The IB says that coupled with recruitments, there is also this danger in the number of infiltrations going up as well. With the Jaish-e-Mohammad expanding its facility in Bahawalpur, it is a clear indicator they are planning something big.

    Security agencies have also blamed the spurt in recruitments to various factors. Many youth are picking up the gun as their handlers have managed to romanticise the cause.

    The recent recruitments are also owing to social media posts going viral, where the youth are seen posing with guns. Most youth feel that sense of power and hence are joining these outfits in large numbers, analysts point out.

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