The disappearance of about 100 Kashmiri youths who had travelled to Pakistan on short-duration visas in last three years has raised an alarm within security agencies that fear that these youths could possibly have been recruited as sleeper cells of terror groups operating from across the border reports The Economic Times (ET). Some of the missing youth also attended a terror training course, including one on IED making, the agencies believe.
The ET report on the issue quoting officials of security agencies says:
“Alarm bells rang in April last year when a group of five terrorists were killed in jungles of the border area of Handwara in North Kashmir. One of them was a local who went to Pakistan in 2018 and had not returned since then, various officials from security agencies said.
Between April one to six of last year, youths hailing from Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag districts of South Kashmir were seen as part of the infiltrating groups of terrorists and all of them had travelled to Pakistan on valid documents and never returned thereafter, they said.
Security agencies, along with the immigration officials at Wagah border as well as at the New Delhi airport, have been collecting data of Kashmiri youths who travelled on a valid visa for durations ranging more than seven days over the last three years, the officials said.
The figures were astonishing and in some of the cases, it was found that the youths never returned and in others they disappeared after their return, raising speculation that they could have become “sleeper cells”, waiting for instructions from the masters in Pakistan’s snooping agency, ISI, or handlers in terror groups located across the border.”
Alarmed by this, security agencies called in those Kashmiri youths who had travelled to Pakistan even two years back for questioning and conducted a thorough analysis of their activities after they returned. Security agencies asked the youths to give a valid reason for their travel to Pakistan, in addition, checking and verifying the background history of all these people.
Security agencies have issued a statement saying that they believe that there was a six weeks training course for new terror recruits while adding that intelligence inputs also suggest that some of the youths were provided a week-long training module on fabrication of improvised explosive devices using easily available explosive material.
As per security officials, most of the missing youth mainly belong to average middle-class homes and have been described as the new faces of terrorism in Kashmir. Officials further fear that these youths are probably waiting for delivery of arms and ammunition for all of them, which has been substantially choked due to heightened surveillance at the Line of Control.
(Featured Image Source: The Economic Times)
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