Security forces working to stop recruitments at funerals of militants in Kashmir

The problem with such gatherings is that sentiments get amplified, say experts. People have used such occasions to make provocative speeches and glorify the “sacrifices” of militants.

The Jammu and Kashmir police will act against those who eulogise dead militants in funerals, making provocative speeches which the police believes motivates young people to join militant groups.

“We have devised a strategy to deal with these gatherings,” said state police chief SP Vaid.

Vaid refused to discuss specifics of the strategy but a Srinagar-based official in the security forces said the state police had been asked to identify and act against people making provocative speeches at such gatherings, glorifying the “sacrifices” of the dead militants. The police will also take measures to keep these gatherings from not becoming too large, this person added on condition of anonymity.

“We have been trying to cut access to the area so that the gathering should not become very large. But our success in this endeavour depends on the topography of the area. Sometimes it is difficult to deploy access control measures,” said a J&K police official who asked not to be identified.

The administration will have to tread very carefully in this matter, said MY Tarigami,a Communist Party of India (Marxist) member of the J&K assembly. “Young lives are getting lost. Extremists elements cannot be allowed to exploit the situation,” he said

The problem with such gatherings, a South Kashmir-based field commander of a central security force added, is that they get amplified; videos from the gatherings become viral on social media platforms, added this person who asked not to be identified.

In one such video, he said, the mother of a dead militant is seen firing an assault rifle with the help of her son’s associates.

“Firing by associates of dead militants – called “Gun Salute” – is very normal such gatherings. The funerals add to frenzy and create more chaos,” said the field commander.

Security officials in Kashmir and government officials in New Delhi say the security establishment has been deliberating on the issue for some time to find a way to deal with it.

“It is a crucial issue which needs to be dealt with urgently if South Kashmir is to be brought back to normalcy. Applying a break on such funerals and gatherings was one reason for announcing a halt on operations during the month of Ramzan,” said a Delhi-based government official.

That doesn’t seem to have worked, and so, with the state now under governor’s rule, the security forces are trying a different approach.