Srinagar: Dangerous trends have started surfacing on the militancy front in Jammu and Kashmir with nearly 130 youths joining various militant outfits this year, the highest since 2010, and a majority of them affiliating themselves with groups ideologically aligned with the Al-Qaeda, officials said here.
According to data compiled till July 31, around 131 youths have joined various militant outfits with South Kashmir’s Shopian district contributing the maximum of 35 so far. The number of local recruits last year was 126.
The officials say that many youngsters are joining the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group which claims support of Al-Qaeda and is headed by Zaqir Rashid Bhat alias Zaqir Musa, who hails from a village in the Tral area of Pulwama district.
The officials of security agencies said the highly-volatile South Kashmir comprising Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Awantipora districts continued to contribute more youths to the militant groups and together these five districts have contributed over 100 youths to various militant groups operating in the Kashmir Valley.
This year’s figures were the highest since 2010, according to a recent data presented in the state assembly and Parliament.
There has been a steady rise in the number of youths taking up arms in the valley since 2014 onwards as compared to the period from 2010 to 2013 when the figure stood at 54, 23, 21 and 6 respectively. In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and in 2015, it reached 66 before touching the highest mark of 88 in 2016, the data showed. PTI