New Delhi: With upsurge in militancy in the Kashmir Valley, the government Thursday admitted that as many as 30 youths have joined various terror groups upto July this year.
This was stated by Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir in Rajya Sabha while replying to a question asking whether a "new age militancy" was on the rise in Kashmir in which educated young men from the Valley were taking up arms for the first time since 1990.
The question was asked by Samajwadi Party's Amar Singh who also wanted to know whether a large number of educated young men from the Valley have gone to Pakistan for arms training.
In his reply, Ahir said as per reports, the number of youths who joined militant ranks during 2015 and upto July 2016 stood at 83 and 30 respectively.
However, no reports about "exfiltration" of educated youths for obtaining arms training across the border have been received for the past few years, he said.
The minister said certain "proactive" steps were being taken to wean away youth from militancy which included counselling, organising sports tournaments, special attention to drug addicts besides recruitment for the post of constables.
Besides these, the government has adopted various measures to neutralise the militants.
He said the government would provide adequate opportunities to all sections in the state who eschew violence to effectively present their views and efforts would be made to redress their genuine grievances.
In reply to another question by Singh, Ahir said after the gunning down of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, 1,018 protests erupted across the Valley in which 45 civilians and two security force personnel lost their lives till August 7.
The number of security force personnel injured in the protests was 4,515 and that of civilians 3,356.
He said separatist leaders, including Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, pro-Pak leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and JKLF Chief Yasin Malik, have been continuously announcing various forms of protests.
While Geelani and the Mirwaiz continue to remain under house arrest, Malik was shifted to central jail on July 30.