Seventeen Kashmiri youths who had traveled to Pakistan with valid travel documents but snuck into the valley have been killed in counter-terror operations, officials fear the ISI has adopted a new modus operandi to portray activism here as an indigenous movement.
Since 2015, a large number of young people have obtained travel documents to travel to Pakistan for higher education, to meet relatives or for marriage purposes, officials said.
Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the country’s higher and technical education regulators, issued a statement advising students not to travel to Pakistan to pursue graduate studies.
“Any Indian national/overseas citizen of India who intends to gain admission into any college/educational institution in Pakistan will not be eligible to seek employment or higher education in India on the basis of these qualifications. [in any subject] acquired in Pakistan,” UGC and AICTE said in a joint statement.
The reason, officials say, is that these young people were brainwashed across the border and some of them received weapons training or were used to launder money.
Jammu and Kashmir Police State Investigation Agency (SIA) has filed an indictment against a Hurriyat leader and others for selling MBBS seats in Pakistani colleges and using the proceeds for terrorist activities.
Hundreds of students from Jammu and Kashmir have traveled to Pakistan in recent years for higher education and a few of them have been brainwashed, given weapons training or recruited into sleeper cells in an effort to gather information to share with managers sitting across the border, officials said.
They said a well-oiled separatist lobby would arrange letters of recommendation from Hurriyat leaders and other valid Pakistani embassy travel documents to facilitate their visit to Pakistan for admission.
All arrangements of parents as well as students in Pakistan were usually done by the separatists as part of a well-planned conspiracy with their Pakistan-based co-conspirators.
The students were tricked into appearing in the National Talent Search (NTS) test at Hurriyat’s office in Pakistan as a stealth tactic to trick them into thinking they were writing a pre-qualification test that would lead to their admission into vocational colleges in Pakistan. Pakistan.
These tests were mainly facilitated by Kashmiri separatists and their relatives who had traveled to Pakistan in the 1990s for illegal weapons training and settled in Pakistani-occupied Kashmir and other areas.
After the test, some of the students were brainwashed and taken for weapons training and then pushed to Jammu and Kashmir with undercover terrorists.
Officials said up to 17 youths who had traveled to Pakistan with valid travel documents and would be in that country to receive an education there were killed either at the Line of Control (LoC) or during encounters, leaving their parents in disbelief.
Security officials tracked the youths who traveled to Pakistan on valid visas for short periods and disappeared after their return as they believe they could be possible sleeper cells of terrorist groups operating on the other side of the border.
Security agencies believe there was a six-week training course for new terrorist recruits and reports suggest some of the youngsters were given a rapid module in making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using equipment explosive readily available within one week.
Recruitment of young people for various terrorist organizations is also done quietly and it is quite possible that these young people could also serve as “recruiters” to brainwash vulnerable men in the union territory affected by militancy.
The missing youths are mostly from middle-class families and have been described as the new faces of terrorism in Kashmir.
They could wait for the delivery of arms and ammunition, although security forces have significantly choked off the supply line with increased monitoring at the Line of Control (LoC), officials said.