The Jammu and Kashmir police are upbeat about having achieved “huge success” in halting further recruitment of local youths by the militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.
They said one of the two militants killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday evening was one of Hizb’s main recruiters.
“We are hopeful that there will be a halt in the cycle of recruitment of local boys,” DIG south Kashmir Nitish Kumar told the HT.
Sources said the militant, identified as Afaq Ahmed alias Afaaqullah, handled most of the “online operations” of the Hizb’s Burhan Wani group, which comprises mostly local boys from south Kashmir.
Ahmad, who, sources said, had an MTech degree, was himself seen in many videos glorifying the young militants from the Valley.
“Afaq (Ahmad) was a techie, and he and another militant, who was killed in Shopian last week, were involved in these activities,” Kumar said.
Burhan Wani, a 21-year-old boy from Tral in Pulwama district, has become the new face of local militants in the
Valley. Burhan’s videos and audios uploaded on social networking sites have gone viral and motivated many youngsters to join militant ranks.
Army and police officials have said around 60 local youth were active in militancy related activities —the highest in recent years. They said it was for the first time in a long time that local militants outnumbered the foreigners.
Ahmad, who had joined militancy in April of 2015 along with three others, including a policeman Naseer Pandit, was the son of a police head constable.
Meanwhile, while thousands with moist eyes turned up for Ahmad’s funeral on Tuesday, police officials say they had many parents reporting to them about their children’s activities to dissuade them from joining militancy.
“There was a certain romanticism and heroism associated with the local boys, but no parent would want their children to meet the same fate,” Kumar said.
On Tuesday evening, Hizb’s chief spokesperson Burhan-ud-deen told a local news agency CNS that the militant killings in Pulwama were a big loss and warned the “police informers” of dire consequences.