The outgoing Kashmir police chief Muneer Ahmed Khan revealed that the slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani used “social media more than the gun he was wielding to lure as many youth as possible into the militancy taking advantage of the age of technology.”
In an exclusive chat with Greater Kashmir, Muneer Khan said: “I believe Burhan was the first militant to use social media to gain lot out of it. He did very little damage with the gun he was holding in his hands, but being a tech-savvy, he caused huge damage by luring a large number of youth into militancy.” Khan will hand over the charge of IGP Kashmir to S P Pani today (Monday).
Khan, who was recently promoted as additional director general of police (ADGP), and has been transferred to head the home guards, said the “dead Burhan became more dangerous as he had set the trend of using social media.”
Even after Burhan’s killing on July 8, 2016 in an encounter at Bomdooru, Kokernage in Anantnag district, ADGP Khan said the recruitment of local boys into various militant ranks continued ‘manifold.’
“We managed to kill 74 of the new recruits who had joined the militancy after Burhan’s death which included his close aides too,” Khan said.
He said even after the death of Burhan, militants started using social media as a tool to “lure more and more boys.”
He attributed to “human intelligence than the technology” the “success” achieved in killing of 210 militants including 15 top commanders of various outfits that include Hizbul Mujahideen.
“After observing that top commanders were major source of attraction and they were luring boys and asking them to pose on social media, we decide to take on leadership first,” he said.
“I am personally satisfied with the anti-militancy operations during my tenure as IGP Kashmir. Based on human intelligence, we did not only kill the (militant) leadership but a large number of militants also. Among all the top guns, we felt satisfied over the killing of Jaish militant Noor Muhammad Trali, he was not only recruiter but a trainer also.”
With the number of active militants around 200 still, Khan attributed this to successful infiltration bids and some local recruitment by left-over militant commanders. “In 2017, we had some major infiltration bids by Jaish and Lashkar militants in large numbers from Pir Panchal range including Poonch, Rajouri belt,” he revealed.
He claimed that since past 45- to 50 days, there is a complete halt vis-a-vis militant recruitment. “No one has joined militancy in past 45 or 50 days,” Khan said. “This is because we launched sports activities on a large scale and also continued the counselling to youth through their teachers and parents so that they stay away from gun.”
Khan said to curb rumour mill, he tried to keep the media updated about the latest information with regard to encounters or other matters. “Besides, we resorted to less internet blockade. We started snapping internet area wise rather than going for a blanket ban,” he said. In his message to Kashmiri boys, he said: “My message is that drug abuse is the biggest challenge for Kashmir after militancy. It is eating our young generation. I urge the parents and local area committees to keep an eye on the children and inform police immediately after even a mere suspicion.”