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How snatching of guns by militants is setting a dangerous precedent in the Kashmir Valley

This is the second video of Zakir that has gone viral on social media and comes amid the increasing incidence of the gun snatchings in Valley. And around 70 youth have gone missing in South Kashmir in past 100 days and all of them are believed to have joined militancy.
File : Militants openly flash weapons in Srinagar

In a new video, Zakir Rashid Bhat, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander and the close aide of the slain commander Burhan Wani has asked Kashmiri youth to snatch weapons from security personnel and join them.

This is the second video of Zakir that has gone viral on social media and comes amid the increasing incidence of the gun snatchings in Valley. And around 70 youth have gone missing in South Kashmir in past 100 days and all of them are believed to have joined militancy.

“Many of our brothers have adopted the path of jihad and joined our ranks after snatching weapons,” Bhat, dressed in military fatigues, says in the video. “All those brothers who want to join us, they should snatch weapons. We would welcome them with open arms”.

On Sunday, in another case of weapon snatching, militants attacked a police picket guarding a TV tower at Dalvash in Dooru area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district and decamped with five service rifles of the cops posted there.

The militants were dressed in army fatigues. The weapons included three SLR rifles, one carbine rifle and one INSAS rifle.

The number of weapons stolen from the security personnel over the past three months has risen to 65. The modus operandi is simple: The new recruits accompanied by militants threaten the police men standing guard at the public places with an attack and then snatch their weapons.

As a result of the fewer weapons coming from across the LoC due to its fencing in recent years, militants have been left with no option but to adopt the dangerous route of snatching guns from the security men. And if the past three months are any guide, they have been successful in doing so.

Zakir also says that his outfit has received “requests from our oppressed Sikh brothers to let them join us”.

“Our oppressed Sikh brothers want to join to avenge “the killing of 12000 Sikhs during Operation Bluestar in Punjab,” he says. “We are with them on every front. God willing, we will try and make an exclusive group for Sikhs,”

Hizb commander also urged Kashmiri Pandits to return to Kashmir. “We urge our Pandit brothers to return to Kashmir. We guarantee their safety,” Zakir flanked by two Kalashankovs says. “Pandits should know that many of their brethren have been living in Kashmir through these troubled times. Nobody has touched them”.

However, security forces are taking the rising frequency of weapon snatchings very seriously. General Officer Commanding of Srinagar’s 15 corps Lt Gen Satish Dua today said the incidents of rifle-snatching “were a cause of concern” for the army.

He was addressing media after the inauguration of a Chinar 9 Jawan Club at Boniyar area of Uri in Baramulla. The club will have facilities including outdoor gymnasium, Internet cafe, sporting arena and recreational activities like indoor games and Library along with various welfare activities. General Dua said that the army was working closely with the Jammu and Kashmir Police to bring normalcy to the state.

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