Srinagar, August 1
The recent killing of terrorist Shakir Altaf Bhat and subsequent finding that he had left the country on a valid passport for studies in Pakistan in 2018 and returned as a terrorist set alarm bells ringing in the security establishment in Jamp;K, officials said here on Sunday.
Security agencies made a quick estimate of passports issued between 2015 and 2019, and found that out of the 40 youths who had gone to Bangladesh or Pakistan for studies, 28 had infiltrated back into the country as trained terrorists. This is in addition to over 100 Kashmiri youths who travelled to Pakistan on valid visas for short durations, and have either not come back or disappeared after their return in the last three years.
The security agencies fear that they could be possible sleeper cells of terror groups operating from across the border. The July 24 encounter in the heights of Bandipora led to the killing of three terrorists, including Bhat, a resident of the same district. Security agencies believe that Bhat had targeted to assassinate Usman Majid, a former militant-turned-politician who has withstood at least three such bids in the past.
In some of the cases, it has been found that the youths who went abroad never returned and in others they disappeared after their return, raising suspicion that they could have become sleeper cells, waiting for instructions from their masters in Pakistan’s spy agency ISI or handlers in terror groups located across the border.
The youths who had travelled to Pakistan even two years back have been called for questioning and a proper analysis of their activities after their return was being carried out by the security agencies. — PTI
Cause for Concern
Between 2015 and 2019, out of the 40 youths who went to Bangladesh or Pakistan for studies, 28 infiltrated back into the country as trained terrorists
This is in addition to over 100 youths, who travelled to Pakistan on valid visas, have either not returned or disappeared after their return in the last 3 years