Local militant recruitment lowest, but boys picking up arms a matter of concern: Lt Gen Ranbhir Singh | KNO

Says only 40 youth joined militancy this year so far against 217 in 2018, radicalization, social media biggest reasons for recruitment
Local militant recruitment lowest, but boys picking up arms a matter of concern: Lt Gen Ranbhir Singh | KNO

Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

Srinagar, May 20 (KNO) : Top army commander, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command on Monday said even though the local militant recruitment has shown a significant decline, but “the issue of local boys joining militancy remains a matter of concern.” “Local recruitment remains a matter of concern for all of us. Last year, we had 217 local youth who had picked up militancy. This year, the number has significantly reduced and as on date there are only 40 youth who have picked up arms,” Lieutenant General Singh said while addressing the media in Udhampur, according to KNO Correspondent present there. Out of 40, KNO recently reported that six were killed in various encounters in South and North Kashmir while as three had returned. The Army had claimed that its appeal to Kashmiri mothers was proving a success as youth who had picked up arms were returning back to the mainstream. According to the figures available with the KNO, in 2017, the number of youth who had picked up arms in J&K was around 240 that reduced to 2017 in 2018. In 2016, the number was around 200, as per the official figures. The Army commander said that one of the key reasons for locals picking up gun was the “radicalization and exploitation of social media by Pakistani agencies.” The army commander said that Pakistan was feeling “starved” due to a very effective counter infiltration grid of the Indian Army. It is pertinent to mention that only 40 youth joining militancy this summer so far in Jammu and Kashmir is lowest ever since 2016. However, officials assert that they won’t take a chance and will ensure local militant recruitment remains plugged in remaining months of the year especially the summer months when infiltration is expected to pick up due to melting of snow. According to officials, no foreign militant was killed on the LoC this year so far.(KNO)