Srinagar, April 16
An Army soldier, who had gone missing from south Kashmir earlier this month, has reportedly joined Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).
The picture of the soldier — Idrees Mir, a resident Safnag in Shopian, — brandishing an AK47 assault rifle has gone viral on social media. However, the authenticity of the photograph could not be confirmed.
Official sources said that Mir, who was posted in the Army’s Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) unit, has joined HM on Sunday.
“Mir returned to his home in Shopian on April 12. On April 14, he left his home to join his unit in Bihar,” they said.
They said Mir went off the grid since April 15 and didn’t answer phone calls from his family, following which a missing complaint was filed.
However, his picture holding an assault rifle in doing rounds on social media sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp.
Defence Ministry spokesperson was not available to confirm the incident.
The incident comes just a week after a US-returned Assamese youth had reportedly joined HM. The picture of the youth — Qumer-Uz-Zaman, a native of Jamunamukh in Hojai district in Assam — brandishing an AK47 assault rifle also went viral on social media.
About eight youth, including Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman’s son, have joined militant ranks since January, this year.
In the recent past, youngsters have announced joining militant ranks by posting their pictures with weapons on social media, including Facebook and twitter. However, about a dozen youths have shunned the path of violence and returned home since footballer-turned militant Majid Irshad Khan surrendered before the Army in November last year.
An official said about 70 youths were prevented from joining militancy from different parts of the Valley last year.