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Posted at: Jun 12, 2019, 6:56 AM; last updated: Jun 12, 2019, 1:59 PM (IST)

2 from ‘militant-free’ Baramulla join ranks

2 from ‘militant-free’ Baramulla join ranks
Two local youths have reportedly joined militant ranks in Baramulla district, which was declared militancy-free around four months ago.

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, June 11

Two local youths — one from Baramulla town and another from Hamrey Pattan — have reportedly joined militant ranks in Baramulla district, which was declared militancy-free around four months ago.

A picture of the Hamrey youth, Junaid Farooq, holding a gun surfaced on social media. “He had been missing for some time, but the family did not lodge any report. Now, his picture has surfaced and it is believed that he is active in south Kashmir, having joined the Hizbul Mujahideen,” a police official said.

The youth from Baramulla town is believed to have joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba soon after the killing of three local militants on the outskirts of the town in January. After the killing of Lashkar militants Suhaib Akhoon, Mohsin Bhat and Nasir Darzi, all from Baramulla, the police had claimed that Baramulla had become the first district of Kashmir with no surviving militant.

“Though the recruitment has largely been happening in south Kashmir, the joining of two youths from a district that was militancy-free is a cause for concern,” a security officer in Srinagar said.

The number of youths joining militancy had been small this year as compared to the previous year’s figure, he added.

Security forces are making efforts to persuade the duo to return to the mainstream.

Baramulla shares the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). It happens to be a major infiltration route for militants. The neighbouring districts of Baramulla have a reasonable presence of militants. After the district was declared militant-free, shopkeeper Arjumand Majid Bhat, who was also a drug de-addiction campaigner, was killed by some gunmen in the main town on March 30.

On March 21, two Jaish militants were killed in a gunfight at Kalantra village in Baramulla district. In April, LeT militant of Pakistani origin Waqar, alias Chota Dujana, was arrested by the forces.

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