Wani ghost haunts Valley, forces on toes on anniversary

On the eve of the second death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahiddin terrorist Burhan Wani on Sunday, a high alert has been sounded across different parts of Kashmir to prevent terrorists from carrying out any “revenge” strike as the “poster boy” of pro-Pakistan terrorist outfit continues to “inspire” more and more radicalised youth.

Radicalisation of Kashmiri youth was top on the agenda of discussions during the security review meeting between Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Governor NN Vohra earlier this week in Srinagar. National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval had accompanied the Home Minister for the review of overall scenario since the Governor’s Rule was imposed last month.

Against the backdrop of Wani’s anniversary, security forces as a preventive measure also decided not to allow Amarnath pilgrims to proceed towards Kashmir-based base camps in Baltal and Pahalgam on Sunday.

During the security review meeting chaired by Rajnath, senior Army and State police officers shared their serious concern over increasing number of local youth joining the ranks of terror outfits. The issue of gullible youth made to join terror ranks during large funeral processions of slain terrorists also figured during the meeting.

Rough estimates suggested after Wani was killed in an encounter on July 8, 2016, about 300 local youths have picked up the gun. According to the security forces, the majority of the youth hailing from South Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama and Anantnag have joined terrorist organisations to wage so called ‘jehad’.

Meanwhile, curfew was imposed in Tral area of Pulwama to contain mass assembly of protesters.

Explaining the gravity of situation, they said 206 terrorists were killed by security forces in Jammu & Kashmir last year but 126 youth joined various terror outfits including the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT). Officials said in the first six months of this year more than 50 locals have already crossed the line and security forces apprehend if the same trend continues the number of local militants this year could cross mark of 100 this year as well.

Till June end this year, around 105 terrorists have been neutralised by the security forces and the security forces are now after 21 top commanders of HM, LeT and Jaish-E-Mohammad (JeM).

As regards radicalisation, they said in majority of cases police investigations revealed that the youth were motivated to pick up the gun by their close friends or some turn of events related to killing of hardcore ultras in the close vicinity of their villages. 

In 2016, a total number of 88 Kashmiri youths had joined terror ranks in 2016 and 66 in 2015.Similarly, 53 youths had joined militancy in 2014, 16 in 2013, 21 in 2012, 23 in 2011, 54 in 2010.

Terror Timeline:

Sabzar Ahmed Bhat - HM Commander killed by security forces in Tral on 27 May, 2017
Junaid Mattoo - Lashkar-e-Tayyeba commander killed in Arwani village in Anantnag on June 16, 2018
Bashir Lashkari - He was the mastermind behind the gruesome killing of six Jammu & Kashmir policemen including SHO Firoz Ahmed Dar in June. There was a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head
Abu Dujana - A former Lashkar terrorist who exited to join hands with Zakir Musa led Gazwat Ul Hind
Yasin Yattu - Alias Mehmood Gaznavi was killed with two other associates in Awneera village in Shopian district
Yawar Bashir Wani - HM district commander Anantnag and Kulgam was killed in Kulgam district
Fukran - Pakistani Lashkar terrorist, replacement of Abu Ismail in South Kashmir was killed along side Yawar in Quazigund