The ultimate solution would be internal talks, when the moderates overshadow the hardliners. By then, it would have led to many young lives wasted.

insurgencies,Jammu and Kashmir,militancy
Source: PTI

The encounter at Shopian in Kashmir last weekend resulted in the death of 13 militants, most of whom were locals. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Is no one in a position of power in Delhi alarmed by this, because I certainly am.” Recent reports indicate a sharp increase in the number of local youth joining militancy in the valley. As per police reports, there is one youth joining militant ranks every third day.

The figure of locals 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 elimination of Burhan Wani. From 2010 to 2015, the militancy had very few local militants, and was mostly dominated and controlled by Pak locals. The only other period with increased local militants was during its commencement in the early nineties.

The recent joining of militancy by Junaid Ashraf Khan, a management graduate and son of top separatist leader, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, who recently replaced Sayed Ali Shah Geelani as chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party, will have immense impact. His father claims he joined militancy because he could not tolerate injustice anymore and has refused to ask him to surrender.


The recent joining of militancy by Junaid Ashraf Khan, a management graduate and son of top separatist leader, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, who recently replaced Sayed Ali Shah Geelani as chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party, will have immense impact.


This is the first time a close family member of the Hurriyat has openly joined militant ranks. It may motivate those who considered the Hurriyat leadership as being self-serving, keeping their kith and kin well educated and in safe employment, as was the norm with the earlier leaders. Even his elimination, which would happen in some time frame, could result in violent protests.

The present lot which joined militant ranks include many who shunned education to pick up the gun. They were aware that they now have limited time. Most of those eliminated in the recent encounter had joined militant ranks just about a year ago. As per the police reports, while 16 militants have surrendered in recent times, those joining are many more. This new trend is likely to give the militancy a local character. This is why the tweet by Omar Abdullah merits special consideration.

In the recent encounter at Anantnag, despite appeals by his parents, Rouf Khanday refused to surrender and was eliminated. Per his father, the family was opposed to violence. But the arrest of Rouf during the unrest of 2016, and the subsequent incarceration for 45 days changed him and pushed him into militancy.

His was not the only case of refusing to surrender, others have also been reported in recent times. Parents remain helpless as youth, misguided with the belief that they are fighting for freedom, don militant colours, unaware of the fact that they are being used by self-serving leaders, who understand that freedom would remain a dream. These leaders are being pushed by the Pakistan deep state, which continues to fund and guide the militancy.

The Director General of Police, Jammu & Kashmir along with senior army and other security officials appealed to parents to convince their children to shun the path of violence. He stated, “It is painful to all of us to see the loss of young life.” They also appealed to locals to avoid encounter sites as there are always possibilities of injuries or death. Even Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has regularly made such appeals. These would continue to be repeated at regular intervals, however its impact would remain in doubt as the youth continue being brainwashed.

Multiple reasons have been offered for spurt in youth joining militancy. These include rise in pan-Islamisation, religious indoctrination and the employment of strong arm tactics by security forces. In addition, which could possibly be the main reason, is the glorification of militants by the Hurriyat and its followers. The attendance at the funerals of large crowds, sloganeering and display of support incites others to follow suit.


Multiple reasons have been offered for spurt in youth joining militancy. These include rise in pan-Islamisation, religious indoctrination and the employment of strong arm tactics by security forces.


What has failed to be realised, mainly by those instigating the youth, is that nothing would ever be gained by their actions. No state, especially India, irrespective of international or internal pressure, would ever permit a portion to break away or declare independence, no matter how intense the insurgency is and despite any quantum of international support. The only difference here is that Kashmir has dominated international space, solely due to Pakistan’s support and would continue being so.

India fought the Naga insurgency for decades, leading to colossal waste of lives, ultimately ending in a ceasefire. Talks to conclude the same still continue. The Mizo insurgency was also controlled and ended in a ceasefire. In both cases, there were leaders with whom the Centre could negotiate, whereas in Kashmir, the Hurriyat leadership remains adamant, as were the Naga and Mizo leaders in the initial phase of the uprising. In Punjab, Pakistan sponsored militancy was crushed. While the situation was different in each case, the fact remained that the Indian state displayed its determination to succeed.

The incident of stone throwing on tourists, post the Shopian encounter, would impact the economy of the State and is clearly sponsored by forces inimical to the nation, whose interest remains in enhancing violence and hiding realities from the public. It is aimed at denying those seeking peace their only means of income, forcing them also to come onto the streets, in frustration.

moderates, violence, hardliners, militant, youth, militancy, pan-Islamisation, religious indoctrination, arm tactics, security forces, Junaid Ashraf Khan, separatist, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Shopian, Kashmir, solution, internal talks, young lives, India Matters
As all violent insurgencies across the globe have proved, there would be a turning point. | Photo: S. Irfan/PTI

The impacts of a locally dominated militancy would be lack of development in Jammu & Kashmir, more loss of lives and harder times for the local population as security forces would be compelled to act. Increased stone throwing to support militants and deny success to security forces would be met by fire, possibly adding to casualties and increased alienation.

The Hurriyat and their Pakistan backers are aware of the might of the Indian security forces. They also realise that there is no solution when leading by violence. They are also aware that talks with Pakistan can never happen under the shadow of the gun. However, guided by Pakistan and its strategy of seeking to bleed India, they follow blindly. In this misconstrued belief, it is the youth which is swayed by the ideals which they project, who become a casualty. The moderates, who have realised that violence would lead them nowhere, are forced to remain silent as the movement is currently hijacked by hardliners.

The state is also aware, as all violent insurgencies across the globe have proved, that there would be a turning point. This will come when realisation dawns that the violent path selected would never be a solution. It may come sooner or later but would have to. No state could ever allow itself to be divided, irrespective of any number of locals joining militant ranks.


The moderates, who have realised that violence would lead them nowhere, are forced to remain silent as the movement is currently hijacked by hardliners.. No state could ever allow itself to be divided, irrespective of any number of locals joining militant ranks.


The ultimate solution would be internal talks, when the moderates overshadow the hardliners. By then, it would have led to many young lives being wasted solely seeking to push forward an agenda which will never succeed.

It is the elders who having witnessed decades of violence realise its futility but are compelled into silence under pressure from the youth. They should be encouraged to lead the way, forcing those instigating the youth to back down and seek a middle path of talks, to come to a solution within the Indian constitution. They will have to ultimately, as it is the only way forward.

In the meanwhile, the state could consider if permitting burials of local militants should continue to be done by his family or by the state as is being followed for Pakistan militants. The logic is once he has picked up the gun, he is an enemy of the state and should be treated as such. This would reduce their glorification which incites other innocents to follow.

More violent struggles than Kashmir have been resolved. This too would. The solution may not come in a day or so, but would ultimately. In the meanwhile, security forces need to operate with care, seeking to avoid unwanted casualties, assisting the locals whenever the need arises, while the state pushes for clean and honest governance alongside development as also limiting occasions where militants are glorified inciting others.

The views expressed above belong to the author(s).

Comments

4 Comments on "Increase in youth joining militancy in Kashmir is worrying"

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Sami
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People of Kashmir are watching what you are doing in Balochistan and so you are training people of Kashmir how to fight a state. Insurgency in Balochistan will stop because we do not give slaps to the youth and we don’t violate their women but how will you stop it ?

Chap
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Arrey bhai saab slap or women se kahin badd k hein aap… consider to see things from nuetral point of view.. you could say whatever you have watched on video or sponsered text notes.. but truth is earlier militancy was crushed.. ongoing would also be crushed.. but the big question is what cost pakistan have to pay… is it balochistan.. is it economy.. or aleniation from west (on which lap you were pampered )

abdul chaudhary
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you cant do nothing…look at you who are you nothing more than a failed state rogue nation …guided my notorious mulla millitia nexus… dont forget your past and dont prick us else you will get rid of not only baluchistan but also karachi, kpk and pok as you lost east porkistan…go do some reading(if ur govt have given u internet or schools p.s. madrasas dont count) what is shown by internantion media is nascent and propaganda to tarnish image of India, people of J&K are proud Indian and you must have heard names of young kashmiris like Athar Aamir, Tajimul… Read more »
Dennis
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It’s never a good sign when such a large percentage of militants are young people. Young people have access to weapons and nefarious groups with the help of VPN services. I also have faith that Kashmir will solve this violent solution, hopefully sooner than later.

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