Surge in Kashmir valley violence after Burhan’s killing.
Over 200 youth, some with sound educational background, joined militancy in past two years
All parameters of violence registered a drastic increase across the Kashmir valley after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani, whose death in a gunfight two years ago had sparked months of protests in the region.The number of casualties among security forces, militants and civilians – which had doubled in the year after Wani’s killing as compared to the year preceding it – continues to remain high.
Wani’s killing in a counter-insurgency operation at Bamdoora village of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on July 8, 2016, had ignited a wave of belligerence in the region which is still present with varying intensity.In the two years since Wani’s killing, 380 militants, which included a large number of locals, have been killed in various gunfights with security forces, according to official data. The 213 militants killed in 2017 was the highest casualty toll among militants in a decade, which also highlighted the growing number of militants in the region.The attacks on security forces have also registered an increase and were marked by the return of deadly fidayeen attacks during the two past years as the number of security forces’ casualties mounted to more than 170, the data showed.
Even though there has been no major fidayeen attack on the security forces in the first half of this year, nearly all wings of security forces based in Kashmir and also outside the Valley have been hit by a series of such attacks before. The deadliest fidayeen attack had taken place in September 2016, within months of Wani’s killing, and left 19 soldiers dead at a camp stormed by militants in Uri.
The two years after Wani’s killing also witnessed increased militant recruitments. In the first half of 2018, south Kashmir’s four districts continued to lead with militant recruitments while central Kashmir’s Budgam and Ganderbal districts, which had long remained off the militancy radar, also witnessed young men joining militant ranks.More than 200 young men, some of them with sophisticated education backgrounds, have joined insurgency in the past two years which marks a departure from the years preceding Wani’s killing when most of the militants active in the region were foreigners.
According to official data, two PhD degree holders, two MPhil degree holders, four postgraudates and 10 graduates joined militant ranks in the past two years.The past two years have also registered increased civilian involvement in pro-militant demonstrations as dozens of counter-insurgency operations faced violent stone-throwing crowds who were intent on saving militants.
Rise in recruitment
The two years after Wani’s killing also witnessed increased militant recruitments. In the first half of 2018, south Kashmir’s four districts continued to lead with militant recruitments while central Kashmir’s Budgam and Ganderbal districts, which had long remained off the militancy radar, also witnessed young men joining militant ranks.
By Azhar Qadri