Jammu, Asharq Al-Awsat – A Hindu militant commander from Hizbul Mujahideen and another militant were killed in the early hours of Thursday morning during clashes with Indian security forces in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Kuldeep Sharma, otherwise known as KK or Kamran was killed in the Kulhand area when security forces raided his hideout in Khilandi village after a receiving a tip-off.
Sharma, an active militant since 1988, has been involved in the killings of several Indian security personnel.
Last August, 26-year-old Uttam Singh, a Hizbul Mujahideen commander was killed in Tharolan, a remote village in Doda. Singh alias Sayfullah became a militant six years prior to his death and was originally a member of the anti-insurgency village defense committee but was eventually pulled into Hizbul Mujahideen.
According to Jammu and Kashmir police chief, Gopal Sharma, the police have identified several Hindu militants as part of Hizbul Mujahideen.
In 2000, Indian security forces for the first time had killed a Hindu militant called Kuldeep Singh as well as other seven others. His elder brother Randeep Singh is still a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen.
In 2001, Bharat Kumar was arrested in Jammu City in possession of arms and ammunition. He had received military training for four years in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In November 2004, a Hindu militant from Hizbul Mujahideen, Manoj Kumar Manhas was amongst the 47 terrorists who surrendered to the army. Manoj Kumar, 20, had revealed that he had been introduced to militancy by his cousin, Baldev Singh, also a Hindu, who is still on the run.
Gopal Sharma stated that Hindus are involved in militancy for money and power, just like Muslim militants. “There is no more jihad and now local youth irrespective of their religious affiliations are turning to guns as it is an easy way to get money and women. Unemployment and poverty especially in remote areas are catalysts for involvement of the Hindu youth in militancy,” he said.