The local youth continue to disappear from their homes and join different militant outfits especially in south Kashmir even as the anti-militancy operations have stepped up.
The latest instances of militant recruitment came from various parts the valley including south Kashmir, the hot-bed of militancy.
Among the fresh militant recruits is a youth from north Kashmir’s Baramulla, the police district which was earlier declared as militancy-free. He has reportedly joined militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
Adnan Ahmad Channa, 20, son of Ali Muhammad Channa, resident of Arampora Azad Gunj Baramulla was missing from past two months, reports said.
Channa’s purported picture, in which he is wearing an Army fatigue and flaunts an assault rifle, has gone viral on social media. Code-named as Saifullah bhai, he has become active militant of LeT on 15 June, the picture description reads.
Earlier, a picture of a youth, Junaid Farooq from Hamray area of Baramulla was circulated on social media, announcing his joining in the militant outfit, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen on 9 June.
In the picture, Junaid is holding a rifle with the camouflage cloth covering his head and the description reads: he had masters’ degree in English. Muneeb, a BSc 3rd year student from Shopian district went missing in second week of June and his family has not been able to locate him.
On Tuesday three youth reportedly joined LeT from the Pulwama, one of the militancy hot-bed districts in south Kashmir, known for 14 February suicide attack that left 40 CRPF men dead in a broad day light.
The circulation of pictures by new militants to announce their joining of militant ranks became a trend in Kashmir after the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani in July 2016. However, the trend seemingly waned for several months, but has now resumed in the recent past.
A picture of Nazim Ahmad Dar son of Abdul Ahad Dar of Hakripora, Kakpora, Pulwama, who had pursued Bachelor degree in Computer application and C course, according to the picture description, has also been widely shared. Nazim alias Rehan bhai, has become active with LeT from 17 June this year, it reads.
Similarly, Irshad Ahmad Dar son of Mohammad Yousuf Dar of Trichal, Pulwama, who had pursued a course in Arabic is also the militant recruit. His purported picture, announcing his joining in militancy was also was circulated on social media.
Irshad, alias Abu Usama along with another youth, Rafiq Ahmad Dar son of Abdul Aziz Dar of Karnabal, Samboora Pulwama, a 10th class pass, have joined the outfit on 1 June.
However, a police officer said that they were ascertaining the veracity of the pictures and their families have filed missing reports in police station Kakapora in south Kashmir.
Earlier this month, a youth from north Kashmir’s Kupwara district purportedly joined Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant outfit. Imitiyaz Ahmad Mir son of Ghulam Nabi Mir of Gulgam Kupwara left the studies midway and picked up gun on 12 June.
On 10 June 21-year-old Auqib Ahmad Wani son of Ghulam Mohammad Wani left his home at Braw Bandina village of Awantipora for a routine work. However, he has not returned home.
Wani, who was pursuing Post Graduation at Islamic University of Science & Technology, didn’t return home and his family has not been find his whereabouts.
Although none of the pictures of Wani appeared on social media but his militant brother is believed to have been killed in Lolab area of Kupwara in 2008.
Since March more than 50 youngsters have joined various militant outfits in the valley, sources said. They added that some of them were killed in gunfights with government forces while many gave up arms.
Among the youth, who joined militancy this year, was Sajad Ahmad Bhat who was killed along with his associate, Tawseef Ahmad Bhat in gunfight at Marhama area of Anantnag on Tuesday.
A police officer said Sajad owned a Maruti Eco vehicle which was used to target CRPF convoy at Lethpora in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF men were killed. Several others were injured on 14 February.
Sajad escaped and joined JeM and his picture carrying AK-47 rifle was also circulated on social media.
“Tawseef played a key role in recruiting of Sajad to the militant ranks,” the police officer said.
In this month at least 20 youth have gone missing from villages of south Kashmir including those three from Pulwama who pictures went viral on social media on Tuesday, they said.
The youth recruitment into militancy is continuing, as indicative of social media reports, even as the anti-militancy operations continue in the valley, resulting into killing of 117 militants so far including 89 local and 28 foreign militants.
According to figures, at least 70 personnel of government forces—Army, Police and Paramilitary CRPF—have been killed in various gunfights and attacks by militants in the valley.