SRINAGAR: Occupied Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday admitted that the number of local Kashmiri youngsters joining freedom struggle is steadily going up.
In a written reply in the state assembly, she said that 126 local men joined freedom struggle in 2017.
"The number of youth who joined struggle in 2017 is 126, while in 2016 the number was 88 and in 2015, it was 66," she stated.
Mehbooba had earlier vowed to break the "vicious cycle" of youth taking up arms on the death of a terrorist in the Valley. She had also said that her government is making efforts to ensure that those joining militants ranks return home.
In her reply to the motion of thanks on the Governor’s address in the state Assembly in Jammu in January this year, she had said that Jaish-e-Mohammad's "Afzal Guru squad" that has claimed responsibility for major terror attacks in the Valley "is a challenge for not only the government but for all of us".
As one of the steps to tackle home-grown militancy, Mehbooba had also stated that her government had announced an amnesty to stone-pelters by withdrawing FIRs registered against them. "About 8,000 to 9,000 youth, I don't have the exact figures, will be benefited by the withdrawal of FIRs.
We have started the process in 2016 but had to stop it due to the unrest (triggered by the killing of Burhan Wani)," she had said.