Srinagar: At least 45 youths from the Kashmir Valley including an MBA and a PhD scholar have joined terror outfits this year till mid-April, according to officials, as the unusual surge in numbers takes the security establishment by surprise.
According to the top brass of the security establishment in the border state, Shopian and Kulgam in south Kashmir have emerged as a major hub by respectively accounting for 12 and 9 of the 45 youths.
The other areas of south Kashmir which have witnessed youths taking to terrorism are Anantnag (seven), Pulwama (four) and Awantipura (three). Moreover, unconfirmed reports, which were in the process of verification, suggest that three more from Pulwama had joined militant groups, officials said today.
Similarly, in north Kashmir, one youth from Handwara, two from Kupwara, one each from Bandipora and Sopore and one from Srinagar have disappeared in the recent past and are suspected to have joined militant organisations, they said.
According to officials, every funeral of a local terrorist spawns at least two additions to the ranks of these groups. The Valley has witnessed the killing of at least 55 terrorists including 27 locals this year.
“It has become a bottom-less pit. We engage, counter, eliminate or make them surrender and the very next day, social media gives us proof of birth of another militant. This vicious cycle needs to be broken,” said a senior army official who is engaged in anti-terror operations.
The first four months of 2018 has already witnessed 100 deaths, including 55 militants, 20 security personnel and 25 civilians. Of the 55 militants killed, 27 were locals whereas the rest were described as foreigners by security agencies in the press handouts issued post-encounters.