When a gunfight starts anywhere in South Kashmir youngsters living as far as 20 kilometres from the site of the encounter rush to the scene to engage with the armed forces. This trend has become dangerous and is worrying the security officials as more youth are joining militant ranks. The government forces are now also keep on the mosques to ensure that the incendiary speeches are not being given out by clerics against India.
It has been seen that mob tries to deflect the attention of forces to provide the militants space to flee from the scene In every gunfight in South Kashmir, forces are surrounded on multiple sides by angry youths who pelt stones at them, fully aware of the consequences. They do it either when the forces are approaching the site of the encounter or are in the middle of the encounter or while leaving it.
Entire Kashmir especially the South Kashmir is witnessing agitation since July 2016 and though there were brief spells of peace complete normalcy eludes the southern part of Valey, hot bed of militants. However despite pubic protests forces have carried out massive operations aganist militants and recently managed to kill three top militants commanders, who were carrying a bounty of 10 lakhs each on their heads.
On May 27, Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, who reportedly succeeded Burhan Wani as the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, was killed alongwith another militant in an encounter with police and Army in Tral area of Pulwama district. One civilian was also killed and several others injured in security forces firing as protests erupted at the encounter site. On June 16, two militants including LeT Commander Junaid Mattoo were killed in an encounter in Kulgam with Army, police and CRPF. A civilian was also killed in forces firing.
On Staturday Bashir Lashkar and Azad Malik were killed in Tangwada Brenti Dialgam. Also two civilians got killed near encounter site. The rise of number of local militants in south Kashmir is continously increasing “ which is concern for security forces.’’
As per government statics the number of local militants in North Kashmir was lesser than in South. In North Kashmir, 102 militants are with Lashkar of which 12 in Bandipore, 6 in Baramulla, 9 in Sopore, 37 in Kupwara and 38 in Handwara. Similarly, Jaish has 16 foreigners, one in Bandipore, three in Baramulla, 7 in Sopore and 5 in Kupwara.
While in contrast to it in south Kashmir among 150 militants only about 20 are non locals. The forces are intensifying their operations in South Kashmir and on daily basis over one dozen cordon and search operation are launched in south Kashmir. Reminiscent of early 90s forces are now again checking civilians at sensitive places and mobile phones of youths are checked to remove the videos and photos of militants from their phones.
As per sources forces are now keeping tab of the sermons delivered in the mosques of south Kashmir especially Jamia Masjids and police officials in civvies are deployd at every Jamia Masjid as in South Kashmir militants are making videos and moving freely.
More qualified youths are joining militant ranks in south Kashmir, officials said. More than 15 youths have joined militant ranks in the last two months. The fever of joining militancy hasn’t decreased in south Kashmir and more and more youths are joining militant ranks which is a “ concern for security agencies. ‘’
A recent entrant is Nisar Ahmad from litter Pulwama,who joined Laskar-e-Toiba militant group before 2 months. He has two masters degrees. Earlier he was arrested by forces on charges of bieng an over ground worker and was in police custody for about 3 months. Soon after coming out from police custody he joined militant ranks.
In last six months 20 people have been killed near encounter sites in valley. They include
July 1: Tahira Begum and Shadab Ahmad Chopan of Dialgam villagein Kokernag killed near encounter site. Tahira is survived by her three children, including a girl, and her husband. Her husband Ghulam Rasool Chopan is a gardener who works with the state government’s floriculture department.
June 22: Ajaz Ahmed Malik got injured near an encounter site in Pulwama and later succumbed to death.
June 16: Mohammad Ashraf, 34, and Ahsan Mushtaq, 15, got killed during clashes near encounter site in Arwani.
June 6: Adil Farooq got killed during clashes in Shopian near encountersite in Ganowpora village.
May 27: A civilian was killed in firing by government forces during encounter withHizbul commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat and his aide Faizan Muzaffar in Saimoo village of Tral.
May 14: Mohammad Hussain Dar injured on May 6 in firing by militants on a police party at Mir Bazar on Srinagar-Jammu highway in Kulgam district succumbed to injuries in hospital.
May 6: Three civilians got killed in crossfire as militants attacked a police party in Kulgam.
April 27: Mohammad Yusuf, 55, got killed after army opened fire on protesters seeking bodiesof two slain militants who attacked an army camp in Panzgam village of Kupwara district.
March 28: Three civilians, Zahid Rashid of Chadoora, Amir Fayaz of Wathora, and Ashfaq Ahmadof Rangreth got killed when government forces opened fire on civilians protesting over a siege laid in Chadoora area of Budgam.
Mar 14: Kaneeza, 9,was killed in Kupwara after being hit ‘stray bullet’.
Mar 9: 15-year-old Amir Nazir killed by government forces at Padgampora village in Pulwama
Feb 23: A woman killed in exchange of gunfire between militants and army.
Feb 12: Two civilians got killed when government forces opened fire near encounter site in Kulgam.