Number of youths joining militancy in Kashmir has come down: DGP Vaid 

Srinagar: The number of youths joining militancy in Kashmir has come down drastically after the security forces launched ‘Operation All-Out’ this year, police officials said, today insisting the aim of the drive was not just to kill terrorist but win them back in to the mainstream.

Speaking to the media, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police S P Vaid outlined the achievements of the state police in 2017. The police chief was joined by Kashmir zone inspector general Munir Khan and other senior officials.

“The perception of Operation All-Out should not be only that we will kill every terrorist. It is a holistic, multi- pronged strategy to bring back normalcy in Kashmir,”Vaid said.

He said one of the aspects of the operation is also to provide counseling to those who shun the path of violence. “We will also provide training to them so that they stand on their own feet.” 

“Another aspect is to appeal local militants during encounters to drop weapons and joining them with their families without any harm to them.” he said.

The IGP said there is a misconception that ‘Operation All-Out’ was only about killing militants “which it is not”.

“It is about the overall improvement of the situation by way of also getting them to surrender, counseling them as well as their parents to get them back and we have been successful in doing that,” he said.

Asked about the trend of youth joining militancy in Kashmir, the DGP said the numbers have come down drastically and things will improve further.

“It has come down drastically. It is on a down-slide trend and I am sure the things will improve further,” he said.

He said the forces must give chance to those who are ready to reform. “They are our very own children. There is no harm in giving them a chance. I am very hopeful that peace is returning. People, by and large, in Kashmir want peace.” 

He said things are much much better now than in 2016 and “I am sure with the cooperation of people and determination of the J-K police and security forces, very soon the people of J-K will get rid of terrorism.” 

Vaid said while 206 militants – 85 local, 121 foreigners – have been neutralized this year, the police have been able to bring back about 75 “boys from the clutches of militancy”.

Vaid, however, said those who are enemies of peace shall be dealt with under the law.

“The J-K police is not going slow on anybody. For us, anybody who is enemy of peace shall be dealt with under the law,” he said, when asked if the police was going soft on Zakir Mussa, who left Hizbul Mujahideen and formed ‘Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind’ – an affiliate of al-Qaeda in the valley.

The DGP said it was because of the improvement in the situation that the government announced amnesty for those youths who were first-time offenders and where not involved in heinous crimes.

Giving breakup of the cases and the number of youths involved in those since the year 2008-09, Vaid said 634 youths involved in 104 cases in 2008-09 have been granted amnesty.

“From 2010-14, 4,327 youth, involved in 744 cases have been given amnesty. The cases of 5,500 youth pertaining to 2016-17 are under examination and very soon we will submit a report on them,” he said.

Appealing the people to stay away from encounter sites, IGP Khan said 24 civilians have been killed near the sites of gunbattles this year, as the security forces started operating in the areas where for the last two years, the police could not enter.

“We have been appealing the people to please avoid going to the sites were encounters are on because it is going to result in mishaps and civilian casualties,” he said.

Khan said the security forces have been targeting militant leadership specifically to stop recruitment of youth into militant ranks.

On allegations about forces high-handedness in some areas, Khan said “aberrations always do happen and we are taking corrective measures”. (PTI)


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