Jammu: In the month of June, five teenage boys from north Kashmir suddenly went missing from their homes. The families reported this to the police and to their utter shock it was found that the boys were out to join militant groups.
As per the details that emerged later, these boys were in touch with a contact who had asked them to meet at a specific point on a particular date. The plan was to either send them across the LoC for training or get them inducted straightaway in militant groups operating in the valley. The police, however, kept track and just before these boys could meet the contact, their location was traced. The families helped the police in convincing the boys to shun this path.
Over the last 4 months, 53 such boys have been saved in the nick of time before they could cross over to the militant side. Out of these boys, close to 25 are from the north Kashmir itself. Officials say the militant groups have adopted the strategy of contacting youngsters who are either vulnerable or inclined to join militancy.
“For last few months, we have been getting constant reports from parents that their children were going missing. We found that it was a well thought out plan to lure young boys to militancy,” said Nitish Kumar, DIG North Kashmir.
After 2016 unrest that began with the encounter of Burhan Wani in Kokernag area of south Kashmir, there has been an upwards trend with local militants joining the militant groups. Estimates suggested that by the end of 2016 close to 100 local boys were operating in militant groups like Hizbul Mujahideen and LeT.
“Most of the times, we have seen that these boys are emotional or get attracted through local contacts. The key in bringing these boys back lies in the fact that their families help us in time,” says Imtiyaz Hussain, SP Baramullah.
The trend of local youngsters joining militant groups has been worrying the state govt for some time now. The Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was quoted saying that the police should make efforts that such youngsters are brought back to mainstream rather than killing them in encounters.
The officials feel that there is a dire need for creating a conducive atmosphere through dialogue with these vulnerable youngsters and counsel them to refrain from taking these extreme steps.
“We appeal to all right thinking people belonging to any school of thought or political ideology to come forward to help police in saving our boys from getting consumed in violence.”