At least a dozen more local youths have joined militancy in Kashmir in the last couple of months, as violence continues to flare up in the Valley. Four soldiers and three militants have been killed in the Valley in three different gunfights in the last 48 hours.
Officials said the rising violence is reflective of the continuing draw of militancy among youth and tension building up between India and Pakistan in recent months.
They said violence would continue at this pace for some more time, given the spurt in local militancy, and the possibility of infiltration attempts before winter snow cuts off higher reaches of the Line of Control. One senior official said it was still not clear whether the latest round of violence was because of infiltration by militants. The Army has not yet reported any infiltration.
In contrast, local youths have been joining militant ranks in significant numbers. “We have definite reports to show a dozen local youths have taken to militancy in the August-September period,” he said. This takes the confirmed number of local youths who have joined militancy this year to over 60. The total numbers could be as high as 80, the official said.
Starting Sunday, Kashmir has witnessed at least three major fights between the army and militants, in which the four soldiers were killed.
Among the militants killed are Adil Pathan and Burmi. While reports said they were Pakistani nationals belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammad, some dependable sources said they could be among the local youths who had joined militancy in recent times. “There is no report of any confirmed infiltration in recent times. There are two factors that have changed in recent months — the growing tension between India and Pakistan and the large number of youths joining militancy,” one official said.
The security agencies expect the level of violence in the Valley to remain high for at least a couple of more months, until infiltration routes are cut off. “That is presuming that there would be efforts to infiltrate some militants,” one official said.
After receding for years and recording a historic low in 2013, militancy-related violence has shown a significant increase during 2014 and 2015. While the key factor is the sudden enthusiasm among local youths for militancy, much of it is also because of mysterious reasons, as reported by The Hindu on September 17.