Worried over the growing trend of educated Kashmiri youth joining militant ranks, the J-K DGP SP Vaid on Saturday appealed their parents to urge them to shun violence and return home and “promised” to provide all possible assistance, including rehabilitation.

In an appeal over the social media, Vaid said: “Today once again I urge to the families to appeal their boys who have taken the wrong path to leave the path of violence and come home. It is highly unfortunate painful to see loss of life. @JmuKmrPolice promises to provide all possible assistance including rehabilitation.”

Vaid’s appeal comes at a time when nearly 90 Kashmiri youth have reportedly joined terrorism this year. 55 of the newly inducted youth belong to Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag and various other areas of South Kashmir.

Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had also made such appeals to the “misguided” youth to return to the mainstream.

While more than 279 local youth have reportedly so far joined various terrorist outfits after the killing of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of militancy in Kashmir, but the number of those shunning violence was just to the level of trickle as only 11 boys have so far surrendered before the security forces. A boy surrendered last week during an encounter in which two terrorists were killed.

Among those who recently joined terrorism was a Kashmir University teacher, post-graduates and MBAs. The university teacher was killed in an encounter two days after he disappeared from Srinagar and joined militancy.

It was worrisome that radicalisation of youth was taking place in the hinterland of the Valley and a video went viral recently in which some Army personnel are seen trying to persuade parents of a militant to appeal him to return home. However, the militant’s sister is seen saying that she would prefer to see her brother returning home in a coffin rather than surrendering before the security forces.

The CRPF has also launched a “maddadgar” helpline on which any terrorist intending to surrender can contact.

The J-K Police has also initiated an “outreach programme” to persuade local militants through their families to return to the mainstream. Three militants involved in a terror incident in Baramulla were arrested a few days ago.

The practice of the authorities handing over bodies of terrorists to their families was also believed to be a contributing factor in increasing the number of terrorists. Bodies of slain terrorists are carried for burial in large processions in which terrorists appear and present gun salute and also urge the local youth to pick up the gun.

An upward trend in the local youth joining terrorism was seen in 2017 when 127 Kashmiri boys picked up the gun against 88 in 2016.