Families of militant recruits offered an olive branch in Jammu and Kashmir

Officers urge the families to convince the youth to lay down their weapons.

August 31, 2021 05:57 pm | Updated 09:51 pm IST - Srinagar

Army and police officers interact with family members of militants on August 31, 2021. Photo: Special Arrangement

Army and police officers interact with family members of militants on August 31, 2021. Photo: Special Arrangement

Top Army and police officers on Tuesday held a conversation-cum-counselling session with around 80 families of militant recruits in south Kashmir in a bid to initiate their safe return to the mainstream.

“We have been providing opportunities to surrender during live encounters [to trapped militants] since the last year. These families whom we met on Tuesday were asked to convince their children [newly-recruited terrorists] to return to mainstream. We made an earnest appeal to them,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar told The Hindu .

Mr. Kumar and Army’s General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps Lt. Gen. Devendra Pratap Pandey, interacted with the family members in the volatile Shopian district and exhorted them “to shun the path of violence”. The Army promised to “offer all assistance if the youths intend to lay their arms”.

“All assistance will be provided to the misguided youth, in enabling them to surrender and the security forces will work with these youth, to address their concerns and assist them in joining the mainstream,” the GOC said.

The Army said the interaction was intended “to instill confidence and convey the intent of the security forces, amongst the families of active terrorists”.

The close relatives of the militants were called from the districts of Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian, which have contributed around 60 % to the total of 88 recruitments made by militant outfits this year.

The parents of militants identified as Sumair Ahmad Najar, Umar Ishfaq Malik, Naseer Ahmad Wani, Adil Ahmad Wani, Abid Ramzan Sheikh and Sameer Ahmad Sheikh, all local youth from Shopian, were also counselled by top officials of the security forces.

According to the police figures, militant recruitment has shown no let-up since the Centre ended J&K’s special constitutional position on August 5, 2019. A total of 167 youths were recruited by militants in 2020 and 88 have been recruited this year so far.

4 held for grenade attack

Meanwhile, the police arrested four militants behind the grenade attack on a sarpanch’s house in north Kashmir’s Baramulla on August 22.

“During the interrogation of these two youths, it came to fore that that they were working as over-ground workers of the Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT],” a police spokesman said.

The arrested were identified as Mohammad Saleem Khan and Sajad Ahmed Mir. “They were working at the behest of a Pakistan-based handler of the LeT and The Resistance Front militant Ali Bhai,” the police said.

The duo was in touch with LeT terrorist Hilal Sheikh and Usman, a foreign terrorist. “They had obtained the grenade from Batmaloo in Srinagar. Two associates, Bilal Ahmad Sheikh and Naseer Ahmad Dar, who assisted the accused persons, were also arrested,” the police said.

Two hand grenades and 100 grams of ‘charas’ like substance have been recovered from the accused persons, the police added.

The house of Sarpanch Narinder Kour came under a grenade attack at Shrakwara Kreeri in Baramulla earlier this month. It caused damage to the windowpanes of the house.

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