The new recruitment of youth into militant ranks has seen trivial decline, notwithstanding a complete internet ban post-August 5 last year and subsequent speed limits which continue in all but two districts of J&K. As per the official data 140 youth had joined militant ranks in 2019. So far this year, 130 youth joined the militant ranks. In 2018, 201 local youth had joined militant ranks in the J&K, mainly in Kashmir Valley.
So far this year, 168 militants have been claimed to have been killed and the number is greater than last year when 152 militants were stated to be killed in gunfights with security forces. The number is still lesser than 2018 when 246 militants were killed. A top police officer told GNS that while any rise in the number of youth joining militant ranks is always a matter of concern, “the situation is not worrisome”.
“Out of the 130 new recruited youths, 55 have been killed and 29 others have been arrested, leaving only 46 in the field.” Asked reasons for new recruitments as ban on internet and subsequent speed limit on it has been likened to prevent “youth from falling prey to propaganda by Pakistan based agencies”, the officer said that “they are mainly due to local influences and number could have been higher if preventive measures were not taken.” Internet services were snapped in Jammu and Kashmir hours before the government of India scrapped its special status and split the erstwhile state into union territories—Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir – on August 5 last year. 2G internet facility on mobile phones was restored on January 25 and since then the speed limits continue except for Ganderbal and Udhampur where high-speed mobile internet was allowed from August 16 this year.
One of the reasons for keeping the speed limit to 2G in J&K is preventing youth from joining the militant ranks.
“The law enforcement agencies have furnished credible inputs that the (militant) modules operating in various parts of J&K, with active support from across the border as well as separatists/anti-national elements from within, are making sustained efforts to provoke sentiments of the gullible youth and lure them into (militant) organizations to fill the vacuum created by the killing of many (militants),” reads the government orders while extending the internet speed ban from time to time from last more than one year.