Twenty-year-old Ashiq Hussain Lone was studying in first year of college in 2012 when he went missing.
One year later, his family in Hef Shirmal, nearly 50 km from Srinagar, got his dead body. Lone was killed in a late night operation on June 10. He had joined the banned militant organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba in 2013.
He was the latest among the new breed of young educated local Kashmiri boys who have been killed in encounters with security forces in the last few months.
Before dying, however, he had seriously injured two policemen.
Remembered as religious-minded and hardworking, Lone is among the new breed of educated local youths who are turning to militancy lately.
Lone had a first brush with militancy in 2009; however, after a few months in prison, he had passed his Class 12 and joined college.
The trend has come to light after many locals were killed in encounters with militants in 2012-2013.
The young militants, many of whom had not even been born when the gun entered Kashmir Valley in late 1980s are seen as highly motivated and fierce.
“Mostly foreign militants would be seen dying in long haul gunbattles, but lately, many locals boys are dying in encounters,” said a senior police official, adding: “Militants who prefer dying to surrender are highly motivated.”
Earlier on May 24, 2013, Kashmir was shocked to learn about dead of 20-year-old Saifullah, who was killed in a gunbattle in south Kashmir. Saifullah son of a retired government officer was a diploma engineer.
A few weeks earlier Hilal Moulvi, a Let operative was killed. Moulvi was a graduate and an Islamic scholar from Deoband and was planning a post graduation in Islamic studies.
Earlier in December, 2012, Omar, 22, was killed in a gunbattle; he was pursuing his masters in physics when he joined militancy.
The trend many believe is because of radicalisation of youth and has been triggered mostly by the 2010 unrest when many youths were killed.
“The ratio of local to foreign militants is 60: 40 in north and reverse in South,” Outgoing Corp Commander of 15 Corp Lt Gen Om Prakash told media.
“Some of the youths get indoctrinated and join militancy since those who want radicalisation to take over the society are working hard towards it,” Prakash was quoted in the local media.
The trend is alarming as army believes that infiltration from across the Line of control is lowest and only 320 militants are active in the Valley.
Meanwhile, Afadul Mujtaba, DIG, central Kashmir said: “There is nothing in these stories. What matters is that people who are trying to make heros of the boys should see how many have they killed and what have they done.
Besides, most of the boys who were killed are dropouts. And today in Kashmir very rarely will you find boys who haven’t gone to school or college, so there is nothing alarming,” he said.
Source: Hindustan Times