New Delhi: The killing of three civilians by terrorists in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday indicate youth-centric measures taken by the state government are not working, security forces and experts on the ground warned.
Also on Monday, as security forces were locked in an armed exchange with militants in Pulwama district’s Drubgam area, local youths broke the security cordon and pelted stones at the personnel, senior Central Reserve Police Force officials in New Delhi said.
Although chief minister Mehbooba Mufti announced an amnesty for 4,500 first-time stone-pelters in November last year, intelligence officials said that continuing cases of stone-pelting in the valley were only indicative of widespread radicalization of the youth.
Not only has the centre’s development agenda in Kashmir been falling on deaf ears, but the centre also needs to step up its efforts keeping in mind the tremendous sway the Hurriyat holds over the local population, intelligence officials added.
“The Hurriyat believes that they are the power centre in Kashmir. There was no pay-off for letting the 4,500 stone-pelters go. They are back on the streets and are being funded and being directed to encounter sites," a senior intelligence officer said on condition of anonymity.
“The government is unaware that other than social media, radicalization is being carried out in mosques and the message that is being sent to the Indian Kashmiri youth has changed from azaadi to jihaad," the official added.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police too, said that one of the key factors that was pushing the youth toward militancy was the glamour quotient that was attached to it, prompted by social media.
“The extent of the problem is huge and militancy is highly glamourized. We have rescued nearly 70 boys who had joined militancy over the last three months. There is no comprehensive study yet that determines the behavioural pattern of the youth and the pattern of them joining militancy. But the youth who are out on the roads, and are indulging in stone-pelting are between 15 to 25 years of age," Jammu and Kashmir Police director general, S.P Vaid, told Mint.
Experts stated that the centre’s representative in Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma needs to visit the interiors to understand the situation on the ground.
“We are going about the dialogue process in the wrong way. Dineshwar Sharma must go beyond Srinagar to areas such as Rajouri, Bhimber Gali and Mendhar to understand what is happening in these parts of Kashmir and how extensive the radicalization process is," said Gaurav Arya, a former Indian Army officer and a defence expert.