Social media one of the key reasons in radicalizing Kashmiri youths: Army Commander

Udhampur: Failing to control the infiltration of militants from across LOC is resulting in radicalizing Kashmiri youths as more than 40 have joined militancy since January according to an Army Commander.

“Pakistan has been continuing with its efforts to show this (terrorism) as an indigenous movement. Today, they feel absolutely starved because of the very effective counter-infiltration grid of the Indian Army,” said General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said.

Local recruitment still remains a huge matter of concern, but these youths ion the other hand are realising that “we do not want to become fodder for Pakistani agencies”, he said.

When asked if local recruitment is still on, to that the Lieutenant replied: “Successful infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) is virtually becoming very difficult.”

“Therefore, for them (Pakistan) to continue with this terrorism, they want that the local content should be increased,” and “local recruitment remains a matter of concern for all of us. Last year, 217 local youths had taken to militancy. This year, the number has significantly reduced. As on date, there are only 40 youth who have picked up arms.”

A large number of local youths recruited in militancy are returning back due to its outreach programmes to connect with families and teachers said the Army.

There has been a constant rise in the local recruitment in joining militancy since 2016 as per official data from the Army.

As many as 126 locals have joined militancy in the year 2017 the data said adding South Kashmir districts like Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag becoming targets for radicalizing the youths into joining militancy with many youths joining terror outfits like the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The 2018 data said there has been so far 217 local recruits of which 154 alone hailed from south Kashmir.

“One of the key reasons of recruitment is radicalisation and exploitation through social media by Pakistani agencies (to lure youth to pick up guns and engineer violence in Kashmir),” Singh added.

“I am sure with the help of all the stakeholders we will be able to arrest this trend in the times to come as we are doing now,” he further added.

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