131 Youth Have Joined Militancy till July 31, Zakir Musa Gaining ground in Kashmir

August 26

Nearly 130 Youths from Jammu Kashmir have been recruited into Militancy this year, the highest since 2010, officials said here.

According to figures available to The Kashmiriyat till July 31, nearly 131 youths have joined various Militant outfits with South Kashmir’s Shopian district contributing the maximum of 35 so far.

The number of local recruits in 2017 was 126, this despite at least 220 Militants being killed the last year.

As per a report, many youngsters are joining the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group which claims support of Al-Qaeda and is headed by Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Musa, who is an engineer from Noorpora in the Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

The report further reads that, The acceptance for this group is steadily increasing among locals as Zakir Musa emerged as the only militant who ended the 27-year-old show of separatists leaders from Hurriyat Conference.

Musa’s slogan of “Shariyat ya Shahadat” has replaced many age-old pro-Pakistan slogans, the officials who have been monitoring the security situation in the Kashmir Valley feel.

Despite the separatists and their workers campaigning against the pro Zakir Slogans, the slogans are picking up and more youth are seen raising pro Zakir slogans and banners during protests.

The 24-year-old engineering college drop-out has been able to capture the imagination of youths, especially after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani, who was killed in 2016, the report reads.

Zakir Musa was good at studies as well as sports and had represented the state in inter-state carom championship which may be one of the reasons that he has started emerging as a hero to many youths in the Valley.

Though the Jammu Kashmir Police has time and again termed Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind as a non-starter in the valley, the growing popularity and graffiti of his name and slogans have taken maximum spaces of towns and villages.

The South Kashmir region comprising Shopian, Pulwama, Islamabad (Anantnag) and Kulgam districts continued to contribute more youths to the militant groups and together these four districts have contributed over 100 youths to various Militant outfits operating in the Kashmir Valley.

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

In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and in 2015, it reached 66 before touching the highest mark of 88 in 2016, the data showed. (The Kashmiriyat)