Government forces have urged the Centre to firm up a policy against handing over bodies of militants killed in encounters in Jammu and Kashmir to their families in an effort to prevent people from attending their funerals, which often motivates many local youths in joining militancy.
According to a report published by Indian Express, officials said Jammu and Kashmir Police is also of the view that handing over of militants’ bodies shores up emotions in the area during funerals in the locality, and leads to an atmosphere that is conducive for more youths picking up the gun.
The report said that, both men and women attend these funerals, which eventually turn into charged anti-India rallies, the officials reasoned. The police are responsible for conducting formalities and handing over the body of a dead militant to his family even when he is killed in encounter with the government forces.
While the Centre is yet to take a decision on the issue, sources indicated that the final decision may be left with the state police, which will decide on a case-to-case basis on whether to pass on the body to a slain militant’s family. Authorities may decide on burying militants killed in encounters at the place nearest to the encounter site, it is learnt.
A recent study conducted by Jammu and Kashmir Police on radicalization and militancy in the Valley also states that one of the final stages of youths joining militancy is when a militant “gets killed and is turned into a martyr by stakeholders, becomes a hero for other disillusioned youth, (and thereby) completing the vicious cycle, reported Indian Express.
The report is based on a study of “156 local youths of the Valley who have joined militancy between 2010 and 2015”.
According to Home Ministry figures, 75 militants were killed in operations and 65 people joined the militancy ranks in the Valley in the first five months of the ongoing year. Last year, 217 militants were killed in an encounter with government forces, according to official statistics, the report mentioned.
In 2015, 108 militants were killed in encounters with the government forces, and numbers went up to 150 in 2016, the year key Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed, leading to a fresh wave of protests in the Valley, Indian Express reported.
(The photograph used in this story is a representational image))