Five days after Mohammad Ashraf Sehari took over the chairmanship of Tehreek e Hurriyat Kashmir a constituent of Hurriyat (G), his 28 year old son Junaid Ashraf Khan 28 decided to join the militancy. Junaid went missing after offering Friday prayers and in the evening his family lodged a missing report at Sadder Police station. However, next day the picture of Junaid who did Masters in Business Administration (MBA) appeared on a social media carrying Ak 47 rifle. Within minutes pictures of Junaid went viral and he was given a new code name.
Being the son of top separatist leader, Juniad decided to join Hizbul Mujahideen. He is the second high qualified youth from north Kashmir’s Kupwara district who decided to join militancy. Earlier, Phd scholar, Manan Wani also decided to join the militant ranks and his picture carrying AK 47 rifle also became viral on the social media.
Junaid is the fourth young man from north Kashmir’s Kupwara who had joined militant ranks. After the start of militancy, the Kupwara district was used a launching pad as militants even this time militants use the villages of Kupwara as transit point after sneaking into Valley after crossing the LoC, however, in the past many years local youths didn’t pick up guns. The trend of local youths joining militant ranks picked up after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani in 2016 which is worrying.
Though, government has been able to manage to bring some boys who had joined militancy back, however, majority of youth didn’t pay any heed to the appeals of the government. Despite many local youths who had joined militancy were killed in different operations still young men are joining militancy. J&K’s Director General of Police, S P Vaid has now asked newly appointed chairman of Tahreek – e- Hurriyat to appeal his son to return. Which seems unlikely.
However, it is time when the government shall wake up to this concern and ponder over it why this is happening in Kashmir, especially when Kashmir had witnessed many peaceful years. If this trend continues then things in the coming days will get more complicated. Though J&K government and the Centre is planning to offer a surrender policy to wean away the local boys from the militancy, however, the government should also think about starting a dialogue with Pakistan and the separatist leadership to stop the bloodshed.
Also separatists should use their influence so that youths will not get killed in encounters and devise a plan which will save lives of young men. Militancy is not solution to problems neither military operations will bring peace in the Valley, the meaningful dialogue will open channels of communications. Since J&K chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti took over reins of power she has been advocating about the solution through dialogue which is a good step, however, it should be given a real shape if bloodshed needs to be stopped.
The killing of local boys always generates resentment among the masses and motivate other youths to pick up guns, so security forces should try to save the lives even those boys who have joined militant ranks. The operations should be prolonged so that militants could be taken alive though it is a difficult thing but not impossible. However, it will prove helpful in the long way. Otherwise, if more local boys will take up arms, the Kashmir will see a new phase of militancy which will bring more destruction in the state. Two generations of J&K have already seen the militancy and if corrective measures are not taken next generation will also get consumed in it.