Have India’s leading institutions like Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Milia Islamia become a hotbed for terror groups to entice young, vulnerable Kashmiri students? According to secondary research by EurAsian Times, social media applications like Telegram and Signal have become key recruiting tools for terror organizations to woo Kashmiri students from these premier institutions.
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On Saturday, Delhi Police’s Special Cell, along with Jammu and Kashmir Police, arrested three people who owed allegiance to the Islamic State of Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK). Earlier, Ehtisham Bilal from Sharda University joined the ISJK (Islamic State of Jammu and Kashmir), a move that shocked everybody.
What inspired Ehtisham Bilal to join the ISJK? Last month, a fight broke out between some Indian and Afghan students at Sharda University. Mistaking Bilal for an Afghan student, he was roughed up. Bilal left the university, his family filed a missing report and before the police could trace him, his photographs with weapons surfaced on the social media.
The biggest concern is within only a few days, Bilal was able to join the ISJK, which meant either he was already in touch with the terror group or the radicalization process of ISJK is extremely efficient.
Another student – Mannan Bashir Wani was a PhD scholar at Aligarh Muslim University. He quit studies and joined Hizbul Mujahideen. Two months later, in October, he was killed in an encounter with the Indian Army in Handwara, Jammu and Kashmir.
Among the three arrested by Delhi Police, Harris Mushtaq Khan is probably the brightest of the lot. Last year, he completed his graduation from Jamia Milia Islamia but dropped out of the Master’s programme. “Harris joined ISJK and owed allegiance to the Islamic State.”
Investigations by the intelligence agencies revealed that social media is playing a vital role in radicalising the Kashmiri youngsters. Terror groups have used social media to radicalize the youngsters with speeches of Anwar Al Awlaki.
“Once they show some interest, they use encrypted chatting applications like Telegram and Signal, to interact with them. Oath of allegiances to the Islamic State is done via Telegram or Signal and then it is deleted.” What is worrying is that unlike WhatsApp which can be intercepted, Telegram and Signal messages are nearly impossible to be tracked.