News Kashmir Analysis
Gone are those days when militancy mostly used to be driven mostly by less educated or uneducated youth as from past few years highly educated and technically skilled militants especially from South Kashmir have emerged as new face of Kashmir militancy.
Educated militants in the armed movement of Kashmir has constantly been worry for the agencies supposes to counter it as no longer they can term militancy an act of few unaware youth and this in many ways turns it into battle of ideologies rather than being mere issue of law and order.
From North to South over the years educated youth have become part of Kashmir militancy. With these militants able to use competently social networking tools they are able to add angle of glamour to militancy in Kashmir.
Just few days back, scores of Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora, students offered funeral prayers in absentia to the slain militant Afaq Ahmad Bhat of Karimabad in Pulwama district.
Talking to media students of the IUST had stated that students assembled in the premises of the varsity at morning time and offered prayers in absentia for Afaq Ahmad and other militant who were killed in an encounter in Drubgam in Pulwama on last Tuesday.They stated that Afaq was studying in fourth semester in Islamic Studies department in the university.
Even engineering professionals have been killed as militants in Kashmir over the past few years. In 2013 the killed militant in encounter in South Kashmir identified as a 21-year-old engineering student Saif Ullah Ahanger alias Burhan son of Mohammad Rafiq Ahanger from Hariparigam Tral.
Similarly, Talib Afzal Shah, was killed by forces in Kakpora area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Talib, a youth in his 20s, held double post-graduate degrees but those who knew him had in media outlets stated that frequent summons to police stations and night raids left Talib’s dream of getting a job and normal life short lived as he joined militant ranks in 2014. Pertinently, Scores of educated militants have fallen to bullets in these years.
Mir Imran, an eminent Human Rights activist while talking exclusively to News Kashmir stated – “The paradigms of militancy have dynamically shifted in case of militancy in Kashmir. Educated youth joining militancy is now an open secret in Kashmir. We also need to continuously remind ourselves that unresolved political issue of Kashmir is the root cause of all these trends and problems. The need of the hour is to settle the Kashmir issue in its actual historical, humanitarian and political realities. With more educated youth joining militancy it would be clearly a cause of worry and should be worry for all political shades concerned.”
Ajaz War, Prominent Journalist stated – “ The new breed of militants are not just well educated but often come from wealthy backgrounds. This new face of militancy dates back to the 2008 summer agitation and 2010 ‘stone pelting’ unrest in Kashmir in which many were of the opinion that youth voice was crushed and at the same time the policymakers warned of ‘radicalisation’ among the youth after 120 civilians, mostly teenagers, were killed in retaliatory action by security forces in 2010 . The government did little to contain the situation at that time and all this has forced younger generation to arms. We have also seen on record many relatives of militants claiming highhandedness and torture of men in uniform behind educated youth joining militancy.”
Pertinently, at a recent Idea Exchange at The Sunday Express, A S Dulat, former R&AW chief and the Kashmir point-man during the Vajpayee administration in the early 1990s, expressed concern over “Kashmir returning to the pre-’96 era”. “A lot of these boys (who become militants) are from fairly good families, middle class, upper middle class, qualified engineers. So why are they getting into this? That’s the scary part. I’m not worried about the waving of Pakistani flags, they can be stopped any time. If ISIS flags are raised or ISIS graffiti appears in downtown Srinagar, then somebody needs to look into it,” he said.
Even the police top brass has admitted that the number of local militants has been steadily rising in the past several years, but in the last two years, there has been a sudden increase in local militant involvement and presence. Expert analysis is clear that from multi-dimensional factors especially the nature of political conflict or sometimes atrocities by men in uniform or the ideological factors are driving the educated youth of Kashmir towards militancy.