Says Pakistan running ‘relentless campaign on social media to lure youth towards militancy’
Srinagar: A day after arresting three militants in Kulgam district, the J&K Police, Indian Army, and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) held a press conference at Police Control Room Srinagar on Thursday. Kashmir Range Inspector General of Police (IGP) Munir Khan said that the J&K Police stood by its “commitment towards local militants who want to rejoin their families and get back in the mainstream” by offering them generous terms of surrender.
Khan also said that Pakistan was running “a relentless campaign on social media to lure Kashmiri youths towards militancy”.
Parading before the media two of the militants arrested in Kulgam (the third was in hospital), Khan said, “We arrested, alive, three militants from the encounter site. Despite militants killing our man (an army sepoy), our forces rescued the injured militant (and took him) to hospital.”
The two militants paraded before media were identified as Shams-ul-Viqar and Bilal Shaikh. The third injured militant was identified as Atta Muhammad.
“Our appeal to local militants still stands and we welcome back Kashmiri militants into the mainstream,” Khan said.
The IGP said that it was due to presence of militant commanders in south Kashmir that local youths were joining militant ranks.
“The influence of Kashmiri militant commanders is huge. They are the ones who lure youth into militancy,” Khan said. “That is why our target is to kill these militant commanders.”
In north Kashmir, he said, “foreigners (militants) outnumber locals (militants), which is why locals in that region are not joining militancy.” “Non-Kashmiri militants are focused on their action and recruitment is mainly the concern of Kashmiris (militants),” he said.
Asserting that “not more than 17 local youth” have joined militant ranks in the past three months, Khan said, “No doubt that youth have joined ranks, but most of them are school/college dropouts.”
“We should not highlight football careers et al (about militants),” he said, when asked about well-educated youth and recently an accomplished footballer from Anantnag, Majid Khan, having joined militant ranks.
“It is for the first time, fortunately, that we are able to arrest a person alive who joined militancy in his youth. Now we will ask him what drove him to join militants,” Khan said about Shams-ul-Viqar, an alumnus of the elite DPS school and a top athlete.
“There are many factors,” he said when asked the reasons why youth were joining militant ranks. “We need to sit and talk about it,” he added.
Khan said that police were “seriously working” and expected “positive results” in the near future.
During the presser, Commandant of Anantnag-based 2 Sector of Indian Army, Brigadier Sachin Malik, and IG CRPF Zulfiqar Hassan joined Khan in saying that “there was great synergy between the three armed forces, due to which positive results were coming out”.
Brigadier Malik said that anti-militancy operations will continue “relentlessly”. “Koi rok nahi hogi (there will be no halt),” he said about the “Operation All-Out” against militants.
IGP Khan said that “there is a relentless campaign by Pakistan on social media to lure Kashmiri youth towards militancy, and there is also religious exploitation by such forces.”
“These youth can’t understand what is right or wrong for them,” he said.
Khan said that a “comprehensive” surrender policy was being formulated for militants. “The government is very keen and has sought suggestions from us, which we are compiling,” he said. “We are working on how to get those (militants) into mainstream who are here and how to rehabilitate them in future.”