‘Recruiters are using religion, radicalization, money and fame to snare their victims’.
New Delhi: Though the situation in the Kashmir valley has normalized with no reports of stone pelting and the number of terror attacks going down, Indian agencies tracking developments in the valley are engaged in a tough battle to stop the local Kashmiri youths from getting indoctrinated.
This indoctrination, evidence gathered by the agencies suggest, is being done by Kashmir-based religious scholars and educationists. The Sunday Guardian has accessed details collected by one of the intelligence gathering departments active in the valley which shows how a professor with one of the premier universities of Kashmir successfully recruited a youth from the economically weaker section of Budgam by using religious teachings and doling out cash.
The said terrorist, on the orders of the professor, joined terrorism in 1996 before surrendering in 2007. However, he again “relapsed” and joined Hizbul Mujahideen in 2014 before being eliminated in an encounter in August 2017 in Shopian. The name of this terrorist was Yasin Itoo @ Ghaznavi. He left behind aged parents and three brothers, all who are still struggling. The professor, meanwhile, continues to live his life in a multi-storey house, managing his agricultural land and an educational institute.
Another recruiter is a resident of Natipora, Srinagar, who unlike the professor, is unemployed, but has good control over religious texts. He recently recruited Bilal Manzoor Bhat, 29, who joined the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba on 4 January 2021 after being radicalized by the recruiter. Bhatt’s parents are based in Srinagar while his brother is working in Saudi Arabia.
The agencies have got proof of how the recruiter was given a substantial amount of money after Bhat became a terrorist.
The agencies have collected details of another Kashmiri recruiter who is now based in Pakistan. Jameel Ahmad Sher Gujree, who comes from a well-off family of Nowpora, Bandipora, went to Pakistan in the 1990s-2000s for arms training and never came back.
The former lecturer at Government Polytechnic College, Bandipora, has been recruiting Kashmiri and Pakistani youth to carry out terror strikes in the valley since then. A few years ago, he recruited Abid Rashid Dar of Papachan, Bandipora, who left India on the pretext of receiving higher education.
However, later it emerged that he had joined the Lashkar and was training in Pakistan under the guidance of Jameel Ahmed. Dar left behind his parents and a brother to face the repercussions of his actions.
“The common factors in all these three cases are recruiters using religion, radicalization, money and fame to snare their victims,” an official said. “Pakistan is spending a lot of money on these ‘soft’ methods that destroy Kashmiri families, apart from creating problems for us,” the officer added.