Srinagar: A missing Kashmiri youth who was also a MBA student has reportedly joined militant ranks with Lashkar-e-Taiba. Ishfaq Ahmad Wani, who hails from Pulwama, had gone missing last week.
Reportedly, Wani is seen holding a gun in a picture that has surface, showing that he has joined the terror outfit. However, his family has made appeals to him asking him to shun the path of violence and return home.
According to officials, 45 youths, including MBA to PHD Scholars, from the Kashmir valley joined militancy this year till mid-April.
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.
In 2017, a total of 126 youths had picked up guns. It was the highest number since 2010, according to a recent data presented in the state assembly and Parliament.
There has been a steady rise in the number of youth taking up arms in the Valley since 2014 onwards as compared to 2011, 2012, and 2013.
In 2010, 54 youths had joined militancy while in 2011, the number came down to 23 and further dipped to 21 in 2012 and 6 in 2013. In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and in 2015, it reached 66 before touching the highest mark of 88 in 2016, the data showed.