(Image Used For Representation)
The dangerous trend of lining up with militant ranks has continued in southern districts as more qualified youth have joined the militant outfits during the last three days.
The recent reports indicate a sharp increase in the number of local youth joining militant ranks in the Valley.
According to the police reports, one youth every third day joins the militant ranks.
The figure of local youth joining militancy in 2017 was 126, a sharp increase from 88 in 2016. This is the highest in the past seven years. The numbers began to increase after the violent summer of 2016, post the killing of Hizbul commander, Burhan Wani.
Reports available to The Kashmiriyat suggest that about 10 youth joined the militant ranks in South Kashmir, Most of these young boys belong to district Shopian.
The recent example of a youth joining the militant ranks is Aqib Nazir, son of Nazir Ahmad Chopan, an engineering student belonging to Padder Pora village of Shopian district.
Notably, three militants from the village who were also cousin brothers were killed in two separate encounters on April 1.
Gayas ul Islam, Ishfaq Padder were killed in Kachdoora encounter while Rayees Ahmad Padder was killed in Dragad encounter on the same day.
Abid’s father, Nazir Ahmad who is General Secretary of State Chopan Welfare Association said that his beloved son was pursuing his studies at St. Soldier’s engineering college Jalandar.
“He reached home from college on Mar 31st following the death of his aunt and my sole sister,” Abid’s father told The Kashmiriyat.
He said that day after he reached home, 12 militants were killed in two separate encounters. “My beloved son participated in the funeral procession of at least four militants on that day. Abid was continuously spending most of his time in studies even after he participated in the funeral procession of the militants. He was at home regularly up to April 17,” Chopan said while speaking to The Kashmiriyat
“On April 17, Abid had lunch after Zuhr (afternoon prayers) and left home, telling us that he intends to go to Padderpora market,” he said, adding that they have no information about him since then.
“As he didn’t return home till evening, we continuously called him but his phone was switched off, “says Abid’s brother, Imran Nazir, a post graduate in Statistics.
“On next day (Apr 18), a neighbour informed us that Abid’s photo brandishing AK-47 has gone viral on social media,” he said, adding they all were surprised.
He added that soon after seeing the viral photograph, they went to police station Shopian to lodge an FIR. “Later, Army also came to our house and started investigating the matter,” he said.
Meanwhile, Abid’s family urged him return home. “I request the militant outfit he has joined to send him back to his home. I will give them whatever I have including my orchard and my house for returning my son back,” Abid’s father said.
Abid is survived by his parents, one brother, three sisters among them one is married and one is mentally challanged.
Importantly, the trend among the Kashmiri youth joining the militant ranks has continued in 2018 despite ‘operation all out’ continuing in the entire south Kashmir belt.
The operation has so far claimed the lives of 218 militants during 2017 alone including 15 influential commanders, the highest number since 2010.
As per police records, this year 46 militants have been killed, including those killed along the Line of Control (LoC).
During this period, at least 22 local youth have picked up arms, eight of them during the last fortnight.
On 10th of this month, a youth identified as Tariq Ali Sheikh, resident of Mool Chitragam area in Shopian area of South Kashmir joined militant ranks as the youth also released a photo on social media, carrying an AK 47 assault rifle.
On 14th of this month, another youth identified as Khalid Farooq Malik, son of Farooq Ahmed Malik, resident of Alyalpora has joined the militancy as he also released his photo carrying a rifle.
On 15th of this month, an Army trooper performing his duties at 12th JAKLI also joined militant ranks after which he released a picture on social media in which he was holding an AK assault rifle. A dat alter Hizbul Mujahedeen confirmed his entry into the organisation.
On same day, a youth identified as Sameer Ahmed Sheikh, son of Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh, resident of Ayend Amshipora also released his picture on the internet holding an AK-47 rifle.
In current month, Mohammad Owais Malik, resident of Arwani Bijbehara also released his photograph brandishing an AK-47.
A youth identified as Aadil Ahmed Dar from Kakapora area has also released his photograph on social networking sites while carrying two AK 47 rifles.
Moreover, one youth from Kakapora area who was pursuing Masters in Earth Sciences at University of Kashmir is missing from the last one month.