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Kashmiri youths joining militancy; funds flow from Gulf

SRINAGAR: Large inflow of hawala funds from gulf countries and more Kashmiri youths getting sucked into militancy are dangerously stoking terrorism in the Valley in a fresh test for security forces in their anti-militancy operations.

This assessment has been made by security analysts with former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief AS Dulat summing up the situation to say, "there are dark clouds on the horizon and some things seem to be not right." He has been associated with the Kashmir desk in Home Ministry in various capacities since 1990.

While Jammu and Kashmir authorities appear to adopt a reticent policy on the emerging situation and the state police is stumped by the new challenges, security sources said that militants are concentrating on two axes in South and North Kashmir.

An axis from Tral, Batapora, Panjgaon and Yaripora in South Kashmir is witnessing a dominance of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen, while in the other axis from Palhalan to Sopore this group and few militants of Jaish-e-Mohammed are calling the shots, say police officials, who have been on the forefront of fighting militancy.

The worrisome aspect, the officials say, is that in both the axes the leadership is in the hands of Kashmiri boys, who have joined the ranks of militancy recently, the sources said.

Security analysts said that local recruitment, which had come down to a trickle, has picked up suddenly from January this year.

The killing of two militants Javaid Ahmad of Redwini Bala village and Idrees Ahmad Nengroo of Budroo village of Kulgam in their home district a week ago has come as an eye-opener for security agencies as Ahmad had joined Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) a year back while Negroo only a month back, the sources said. Both of them were killed in a chance encounter with security forces in Kulgam areas of South Kashmir last week.

Since March this year, nearly 50 boys have reportedly vanished from the Valley with Awantipora in South Kashmir accounting for nearly 15 of them followed by Kulgam (nine), Shopian (seven), Anantnag (eight) and 11 from North Kashmir.

The missing boys belonging to average middle class are being described as the new faces of terrorism in Kashmir and they are believed to be waiting for delivery of arms for all of them. "So far eight AK rifles have been smuggled into the area and we are sure that more may come in," a senior police official said.

Another official said that the difference between today's militancy and that during early 1990's is that the ideological conviction of the present lot of militants is far more superior than that of the terror groups during the early days.

Kashmir is witnessing a trend of "Pan-Islamisation" where the young boys are opting for the path of terrorism knowing fully well that they are at the risk of being killed, the official said.

Ruling PDP which as an opposition party had been blaming the policies of the previous National Conference and Congress combine for the militancy during their rule appears to be struggling to come out with a clear-cut strategy for the anti-militancy operations, the official and analysts said.

Simultaneously, the hawala funds, which had been curbed to a large extent, has now started flowing into the Valley especially from Gulf in abundance, they said.

The over invoicing of goods by some Kashmiri businessmen doing trade in Gulf has also come to the notice of authorities in this regard, the sources said.

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