On February 14, at least 42 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were martyred in a suicide bomb attack in the southern part of Kashmir. The worst attack in two decades of Kashmir conflict happened when a suicide bomber’s Scorpio SUV laden with explosives rammed into a CRPF bus killing many. The Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the attack and has identified a Kashmir based local rebel as their bomber.
The deadly attack by the 20-year-old local terrorist, Adil Dar has shocked the entire nation and has also forced people to talk about the increase of local militancy in Kashmir region.
Local militancy increased in Kashmir
According to The Indian Express, in the last eighteen years, from 2000 in 2018, it was the first time when the number of local militants killed in the Kashmir valley was significantly higher than the number of foreign militants shot dead by the security forces.
According to official figures available with the J&K Police, in 2018, some 246 militants were killed in different encounters, of the total number, 150 were local residents and 90 foreigners.
In 2017, the number of local militants killed was less than the foreigner militants killed. Of the 200 militants killed, 120 were foreigners and 80 were local. In 2016, 30 local and 100 foreign militants were killed in Kashmir.
The number of local militants in the Kashmir was fairly less in the subsequent previous years. While talking to the Indian Express, a senior J&K police officer said the lowest number of active militants across Kashmir was in 2013, which was at 78 militants.
The problem of militancy is not new to the area. There have been many cases when the young students have shunned their studies and have joined the terror groups, who have been successful in manipulating the young minds.
Many educated are mislead
In 2015, a Chandigarh-based civil engineering student, Zakir Rashid Bhat along with his friends was on a brief vacation to his village home in Noorpura, Pulwama. However, the short vacation for Bhat changed a lot of things in his life and his family’s life. While his friends went back to Chandigarh, the 21-year-old young student, Bhat never returned. “Don’t try and look for me. Jihad is the only way forward. It is the only way to deal with the atrocities faced by Kashmiris,” said the note that reached Chandigarh, reported the Hindustan Times.
Bhat is among the 66, local youths that joined militancy in 2015 (till September-end). The number that has doubled in the last two year was 31 militants till 2013.
Death of Wani
According to many experts, the increase in the number of local militancy was seen after the encounter of 22-year-old, Burhan Wani, who was killed by the Indian security forces on 8 July 2016. Wani was part of the Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, and he became popular in the village because of his active social media presence and strong appeal among the youths.
His funeral that was attended by thousands, led to several protests across Kashmir. This was followed by a surge in recruitment of militants among the local Kashmiris. From 2010 to 2015, the militancy had very few local militants and was those operated these groups were mostly controlled by Pak locals, as reported by Observer Research Foundation.
Last year also saw the most killings
Apart from the rise in the number of militancy, the Kashmir valley also saw the highest number of the death toll for militants and security forces that have touched the highest point in the last decade. According to official figures, more than 324 people including the militants and security forces were killed in just last year. The data showed that atleast 100 also lost their lives in many clashes, encounter and crossfire. The worst is that almost no experts believe the situation will improve any time soon, as Washington Post.
According to information provided to Parliament, the Ministry of Home Affairs placed the number of security forces killed between January 1 and the first week of December 2018 at 86, up from 74 the previous year.