On Burhan Wani's death anniversary, IPS officer's brother named among 20 new Hizbul Mujahideen recruits
Shams-ul-Haq joined the Hizbul Mujahideen on 25 May, after seven militants were killed at his ancestral home in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian in April.
The brother of an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer was among the 20 youth who joined the Hizbul Mujahideen since May this year, reports said. On Sunday, the second death anniversary of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, the militant group released photographs of its 20 new recruits, including that of Shams-ul-Haq — the IPS officer's brother — and of a special police officer.
"It seems they deliberately chose the death anniversary of Burhan Wani," The Indian Express quoted a police officer as saying, "Burhan is the one who first used social media to attract young men towards militancy."
Haq went missing in May, not long after seven Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in an encounter at his ancestral home in Shopian on 1 April. The photograph the militant group released, in which the 25-year-old is holding a gun, shows that he joined the ranks of the Hizbul on 25 May. His code name shown in the image is Burhan Sani, The Tribune reported.
His elder brother, Inamul Haq, is a 2012-batch IPS officer. The latest Hizbul recruit was pursuing a degree in Unani medicine when his family reported him missing on 22 May, according to The Times of India.
Most of the 20 new recruits are from South Kashmir, but there are a few from the northern and central parts of Jammu and Kashmir, as well. "The militants have now shifted their focus to North Kashmir, and they are trying to get more and more boys into the militant fold," a police officer posted in North Kashmir told The Indian Express. "They are trying to replicate the south experiment in the north and it seems that it is working for them."
Over the past two years, there has been a trend of militants announcing their allegiance to a group by releasing photographs with guns on social media. A police officer said releasing photos in such batches seems like an attempt by the Hizbul Mujahideen to glamourise militancy.
On Sunday, normal life was disrupted in Jammu and Kashmir as separatists had called for a strike on account of Wani's second death anniversary. Authorities had imposed restrictions in parts of the Valley as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order.
Wani, a resident of Tral and the poster boy of militancy in the Valley, was killed in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district's Kokernag area on 8 July, 2016. His killing had triggered massive protests and a prolonged period of curfews and shutdowns across the state. Nearly 100 people were killed in the protests that followed his death, and thousands were injured in daily clashes between security forces and protesters even months later.
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