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LeT's recruitment drive in Kashmir a big worry

By Vicky Nanjappa
January 01, 2013 12:40 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:'s Vicky Nanjappa tells how the 2010 uprising in Kashmir gave the Lashkar-e-Tayiba a strong foothold in the Kashmir Valley

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau have said that the 2010 uprising in Kashmir has started to show its effects today. The uprising, which left nearly 113 people dead in Kashmir, has been a major boost to the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

The home ministry, in 2010, had put out a warning that the escalation of violence in the region was being fuelled by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba through its cronies.

A majority of the stone-pelters during that uprising were found to be Lashkar men who continued their battle against security agencies.

The high death toll left many youngsters in the Valley bitter, who blamed the Indian agencies for the clashes. The Lashkar made most of the situation and in the past two years has managed to rope in nearly 70 recruits -- mostly in the age group of 20 and 25.

The first signs of the new recruitment in the Valley came to light during the gunfight between the Lashkar and the Indian agencies at Sopore recently. One of the militants killed in that gunfight was 20-year-old Athar Dar.

Soon after the 2010 uprising, the Indian agencies undertook some damage control exercises to put the brakes on fresh recruitments. They were aware that the encounter would be termed by the Lashkar as an atrocity against the legitimate freedom fighters in Kashmir.

An Intelligence Bureau official posted in Kashmir said that the Lashkar conducted a drive among the student community in the Valley, especially those with deeply religious fervour.

The new Lashkar recruits have been tracked through a missing persons' chart prepared by the Jammu and Kashmir police. These persons have gone missing since the past two years. While many have been taken to Pakistan for training, several other have already joined the Lashkar and are engaged in a battle against India.

According to Dar's father, Mohammad Yusuf, his son had been tortured in jail following the 2010 uprising. The police have been accused of torturing the innocent provoking them to take up arms. However, the police say that this is a recruitment strategy which is often used by militant outfits to rope in new recruits.

Intelligence officials say that the main trouble they face is that the newer recruits are locals of the Valley. They have better understanding of the terrain which makes their hiding and escape easier.

Sources in the IB say that if the recruitment of locals from the Valley isn't curbed it could grow into a bigger menace making the fight against the LeT even harder.
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