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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 May 2024

Jammu and Kashmir: Arrest of youth with no previous record highlights ‘hybrid militancy’ worry

'Hybrid militants' are the ones who disguise themselves as civilians to conduct violent activities. The term entered the security parlance after the 2019 scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status. The police have arrested or killed several 'hybrid militants'

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 14.02.24, 06:36 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested a youth with no previous record of militancy for his alleged involvement in the killing of two non-locals last week, spotlighting the troubling phenomenon of “hybrid militants” that has emerged as a major concern for the security establishment.

The arrested youth, identified as Srinagar resident Aadil Manzoor Langoo, was allegedly involved in the February 7 killings of two Punjabi migrant workers — Amritpal Singh and Rohit Masi. It was the first attack by militants on non-locals this year. Aadil had been reportedly radicalised online by Pakistan-based handlers. The police have recovered the pistol that was allegedly used by him to commit the crime.

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“Hybrid militants” are the ones who disguise themselves as civilians to conduct violent activities. The term entered the security parlance after the 2019 scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status. The police have arrested or killed several “hybrid militants”. In several cases, the killings triggered protests as unsuspecting families alleged forces were targeting their “innocent children”. Many here consider “hybrid militants” a ruse to target Kashmiris although the forces have resolutely defended their actions.

Aadil's involvement, if true, shows why militancy-related killings have not abated despite a decline in the number of known militants in recent months.

“If you dig Aadil Manzoor’s background, he has no previous (militancy) background, nor his family. He was motivated and radicalised through social media,” additional director-general of police Vijay Kumar told reporters in Srinagar.

Kumar claimed Aadil used to regularly pray at the mosque and had leanings towards the Ahli Hadees (also called Salafis) sect of Islam.

Kumar issued a special appeal to parents and teachers to keep a watch on their children and inform the police if they notice a change in their behaviour.

“They should take care of them. The families of hybrid militants have no clue about their activities. A third person does not know. It only surfaces when he commits the incident. But in today's digital world, it is difficult for him to escape,” he said.

Kumar said they usually succeeded in busting the majority of such modules, but one to two managed to slip away.

In December, the police had said they uncovered a plot involving “hybrid militants” to target off-duty policemen in Srinagar amid a spate of targeted attacks on cops enjoying leisure time with family and friends. The revelation had come after the police arrested three “hybrid militants” involved in an attack on off-duty constable Mohammad Hafeez Chak at Srinagar’s Bemina.

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