A terrorist encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian earlier this week. (File)
There has been a sharp spike in the number of young Kashmiris joining terrorist groups this year, with the number crossing 100 for the first time since such data started being collated in 2010, officials in Srinagar said on Sunday. The figure, which stood at 88 in 2016, has already reached 117 by the end of November this year with south Kashmir emerging as one of the main hubs which provides cadres to terrorist groups such as Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker-e- Taiba, news agency PTI reported, citing data from security agencies.
According to the reports, the number of local young men who joined various terrorist groups this year include 12 from Anantnag, 45 from Pulwama and Awantipora, 24 from Shopian and 10 from Kulgam. In North Kashmir, four young men joined terrorist groups from Kupwara, six from Baramulla and Sopore, and seven from Bandipore, according to the reports. From central Kashmir, Srinagar district accounted for disappearance of five youths while Budgam for four.
The reports are based on technical and human intelligence besides interrogation reports of terrorists arrested during various counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, news agency PTI said.
The Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police SP Vaid, however, contended that the numbers are much lower.
But a senior security officer said the figures with the police only take into account the cases registered in police stations whereas the actual figures are always on the higher side as many parents do not report such incidents to the law enforcing agencies due to fear.
According to the data presented in parliament in March this year, there has been a steady increase in the number of young men taking up arms in Jammu and Kashmir from 2014 onwards as compared to 2011, 2012, and 2013.
In 2010, 54 young men joined terrorism while in 2011, the number came down to 23 and further dipped to 21 in 2012 and 16 in 2013.
In 2014, the number shot up to 53 and in 2015, it reached 66 before touching the highest mark of 88 in 2016, the data showed.
The figure showed a significant spike after the killing of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen's poster boy Burhan Wani in an encounter in south Kashmir on July 8 last year.