Force Magazine

Cause of Concern

A growing self-radicalisation among youth in the valley is worrying

By Fayaz Bukhari

After Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI), an unknown militant group that targeted telecoms in restive Sopore in North Kashmir, a killing spree of the members of the hard-line Hurriyat Conference (G) faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and former militants, led to a massive security hunt against this group.

Masked youth holding the ISIS flag in the Valley
Masked youth holding the ISIS flag in the Valley

The new wave of killings started with the shooting down of Altaf-ur-Rehman Sheikh, 46, a pharmacist and member of Geelani’s Hurriyat Conference on June 9, soon after attacks on telecoms in Sopore area in which two people were killed and four injured. He had a past history of militancy and was earlier arrested in 2008 and booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) for planning an attack on former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Sheikh’s killing was followed by gunning down of Khursheed Ahmad Bhat, 35, a shopkeeper and a sympathiser of Hurriyat Conference (G) in Bomai, Sopore, outside his house on June 13. Police had earlier registered several cases against him for stone pelting.

A day after Bhat’s killing, Merajudin Dar, 38, a former Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) militant was killed outside his house in Badami Bagh area of Sopore. And on June 15, Aijaz Ahmad Reshi, 35, a former Harkatul Mujahideen militant was killed outside a diagnostic centre at Mundji Sopore.

The deputy inspector general of police, North Kashmir, Garib Dass, blames a splinter group of indigenous militant outfit of Hizbul Mujahideen for these killings. “They are putting a question mark over their political handlers and asking them to come clean. They feel that these people have damaged the movement and are targeting them,” he said.

“They have serious differences with the Hurriyat Conference and other militant leadership over several issues for past one year which has surfaced now,” he added.

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