Srinagar: As per a claim by the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen on Saturday, the soldier who went missing along with his service rifle and three magazines since July 6, has joined the militant outfit.
A local News Agency quoted Hizbul spokesman, Saleem Hashmi as saying, “Zahoor Ahmad Thokar has joined militant ranks. Hizb appreciates Thokar’s decision of joining militant ranks.”
According to his statement, many soldiers earlier as well “have sacrificed their lives for the freedoms struggle”, reports Deccan Herald.
Twenty-seven-year old Thokar had joined the Army two years ago and he had gone on two days leave before going missing. He was a resident of southern Pulwama district and fled from his unit in Gantamulla, Baramulla, 60 km from here, on July 6 when he was posted with Engineering Wing of 173 Battalion of the Territorial Army (TA).
“He had gone home to celebrate Eid with his family, where he came in contact with some militant recruiters who persuaded and motivated him to join Hizbul,” sources said.
In the last two years, several policemen have deserted their posts and joined militancy in the valley. However, Thokar’ joining militancy, is the first such case in the recent years.
The Territorial Army (TA) is a part of the regular Indian Army. Its role is to relieve the regular Army from static duties and assist the civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where the life of the communities is affected or the security of the country is threatened.
During late 90’s and in the early years of the last decade, individual militants who were turned in by the army eventually made their way into the TA.
“But as the insurgency has again erupted in the Kashmir and popular support to militants is gaining momentum, there is the likelihood that some of these TA men might desert the Army and join back militancy. That would mean handing over trained soldiers to militant on a platter,” a senior army officer said.