Changing face of militancy in Kashmir

According to police cyberspace is becoming a big source of ‘radicalisation’ of youth in the region.

Changing face of militancy in Kashmir
Changing face of militancy in Kashmir

In the last six months in Kashmir, several cases have come where local youth who joined ranks of militant outfits have no past record of involvement in militant activities.

While the security forces deployed in Kashmir valley were still grappling with the aftershocks of Lethpora fidayeen strike carried out by two homegrown terrorists inside CRPF command training centre on the last day of year 2017 another shocker that a PhD student hailing from Lolab area of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, currently studying in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), has reportedly joined ranks of pro Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen has unnerved senior security personnel busy patting their own backs for wiping out the top leadership of terror outfits Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Muhajideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

As of now even though there is no official confirmation that the research scholar has formally joined ranks of Hizbul Mujahideen but clearly the face of militancy in Kashmir valley is changing even after security forces have managed to establish their upper hand by eliminating more than 200 top commanders during 2017.

As of now, media reports have claimed that the research scholar went missing at a time when he should have been spending time with the family. When he went missing his family immediately lodged a missing report with the local police.

Interestingly, shortly after the missing report was filed a powerful image of a research scholar who has been identified as Mannan Bashir Wani, brandishing AK 47 rifle fitted with under barrel grenade launcher went viral on various social media platforms across Kashmir valley.

Mannan Wani received an award for the best paper presented at an international conference on ‘Water, Environment, Ecology and Society’ in 2016.

Speaking to local media persons in Kupwara Mannan’s father, who is a lecturer himself, said, “It is very unfortunate his son has not taken him into confidence before taking such a drastic step”.

He said, “I am totally broken. I had never expected my son to take such a drastic step. If he had some grievances or issues at hand he could have found a better platform than picking up the gun”.

According to the official website of famous Aligarh Muslim University, 26-year-old Mannan Bashir Wani, was pursuing a PhD on “Structural and Geo-Morphological Study of Lolab Valley, Kashmir”.

According to the website, he received an award for the best paper presented at an international conference on ‘Water, Environment, Ecology and Society’ in 2016. In AMU Mannan Wani actively participated in elections and spoke eloquently over the need to provide strong leadership to the Muslim community.

Mannan Wani is not alone?

Mannan Wani is not the only face which is forcing the security forces to rethink their future strategy to tackle the menace of growing radicalism in Kashmir society.

Local media reports claimed a large number of well educated and young boys from well to do families have been lured into militancy by the militant handlers to keep the terror pot boiling. The situation in South Kashmir districts is more alarming than central and North Kashmir areas.

Majority of these youth have suffered either at the hands of security forces or someone very closely related to them faced abuse while moving around. It is for this reason these young boys didn’t think twice before taking a giant leap.

In the last six months, several cases have come to light where local youth who joined ranks of militant outfits belonged to educated families and had no past record of involvement in militant activities. In the aftermath of the killing of HM Commander Burhan Wani more than 100 youth have gone astray. Majority of them may have been eliminated by the security forces but the current crop has surfaced and giving nightmares to security forces as they would have to revisit their strategy.

We will have to put our heads together to tackle and will have to chalk out a new strategy to tackle it.

Even senior state police officers claimed it is a disturbing trend. “We need to do some rethinking and revisit our strategy to deal with the issue at hand”, Inspector General of Police Kashmir range Muneer Khan told reporters after four state policemen sacrificed their lives in powerful IED explosion in Sopore town.

“This is for the first time in since 2015 that IED blast was carried. The use of IEDs had vanished because there used to be heavy human loss and sometimes civilians also got killed,” the IGP had stated.

“This has happened after 2015 and we have to think over it and how to deal with it. We will have to put our heads together to tackle and will have to chalk out a new strategy to tackle it”, he added.

In August 2017 a third-year student of B Tech (Information and Technology) studying at Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) in Rajouri had joined ranks of Zakir Musa’s terrorist outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.

Hailing from Ahmed Nagar area of Soura in Srinagar, the sixth-semester student identified as Mohammed Eisa Fazili was found missing from his hostel room on August 17.

Before the University authorities in Rajouri could ascertain his whereabouts and informed his parents to track him down his pictures holding a rifle in his hand surfaced on the social media pages on August 19.

The message posted on the timeline of a social media page ‘Shariyat ya Shahadat’ read as, “Newly joined the ranks in Kashmir. Brother Mohammad Eisa Fazili alias Eisa Ruhullah from Soura, Srinagar. B. Tech student from Ghulam Shah Badshah University. He was also giving lectures from Book of Jihad of Imam Ibn Nuhas Rahimahullah to youth”.

In September 2017 the state police team had busted an ‘infant terror module’ responsible for targeting Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) along Jammu-Srinagar National Highway on September 20.

According to police cyberspace is becoming a big source of ‘radicalisation’ of youth in the region.

According to IG, Jammu range, two out of three youth, who was part of the terror module, were third-year B.Sc students of Degree College Anantnag while the third one was employed by the private engineering company engaged for four laning of the Jammu Srinagar National Highway.

Kashmir police this week arrested four local players after they sung Pakistan National Anthem before the start of the match.

The students were identified as 21-year-old Gazanfar Iqbal Khan S/o Mohd Yaqoob Khan R/O Kaskoot Tehsil, Banihal. His father, currently working as forest guard was earlier affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen in the year 1989 and had surrendered before police DySP Muneer Khan in 1990 at Banihal.

Another arrested youth has been identified as 25-year-old Mohd Arif S/o of Ghulam Hassan Wani R/O Asher Tehsil Banihal. Arif was working with the construction company Navayuga and is believed to have facilitated the terror attack.

The third youth involved in the attack has been identified as 21-year-old Aquib Waheed S/O Abdul Waheed Najar R/O Kaskoot tehsil, Banihal. He is yet to be arrested. One of his uncles Mohd Hussain Najar was Divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in 1989.

His parents are teachers and one of his younger brothers is a student of IT in Gogjibagh area of Srinagar.

In November last year, Anantnag’s 20-year-old promising footballer Majid Khan, who had joined militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, surrendered before the security forces.

He was a renowned footballer of the town and had passed class 10 and 12 board examinations with high scores.

Pak Anthem on cricket ground plays havoc

Kashmir police this week arrested four local players after they wore colors of Pakistan in a local cricket tournament and sung Pakistan National Anthem before the start of the match.

The incident was reported from Arin in Bandipora district.

The teams involved were MCC, Gondipora and Dardpora Cricket Club.

Police booked the players, arrested four of them after a video of the incident went viral on social media sites.

The video shows both teams lined up before the start of the match with one in green jerseys and the other in white. The players can be seen standing with their heads bowed as the Pakistani national anthem played in the background over the loudspeakers.


Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

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