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SOURCE: TNN

Some school-cum-religious-education-centres in Shopian and Pulwama are under the watch of intelligence agencies and Jammu & Kashmir police for allegedly using the facade of formal education to identify vulnerable pupils and motivate them to work for terrorist outfits active in the Valley, TOI has learnt.

A Shopian-based school affiliated to banned group Jamaat-e-Islami, Siraj-ul-Uloom, which essentially imparts religious education but offers matriculate and intermediate classes, apart from graduate courses in Arts stream- had recently seen Public Safety Act (PSA) being slapped on three of its teachers after 15 ex-pupils, including Pulwama attack case accused Sajjad Bhat, were found involved in terrorist activities.

“Many schools in Shopian and Pulwama belt are inspired by Deobandi ideology and/or are affiliated to Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI). JeI J&K was declared an ‘unlawful association’ under UAPA in February last year. These schools are teaching the same JeI ideology and suspected to be using the school set-up as a legitimate cover to carry out radicalisation of local boys and do head-hunting for terrorist outfits active in J&K,” J&K DGP Dilbag Singh told TOI.

Meanwhile, as winter sets in, ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the International Border in J&K and terrorist infiltration bids have gone up, though successful infiltration cases are down to almost half of last year, as per the latest assessment by J&K police. Also, parallel efforts are on by terrorist outfits to motivate local youths, particularly in south Kashmir, and arm them with weapons smuggled from across the border via drones.

Singh told TOI that ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the border in J&K had doubled as compared to last year. “Though infiltration bids have gone up, there is a 50% drop in actual infiltration as compared to the levels during the same time last year. This is thanks to special measures taken to strengthen the border grid,” he told TOI.

The DGP, while confident that the law and order situation in J&K would stay favourable in the winter months, said the latest concern were attempts by terrorist outfits to motivate Kashmiri youths to join them as militants or overground workers and collect weapons smuggled from across the border via drones.

“In the last two months, we have seized half a dozen arm consignments, dropped by drones across Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam. For every seized consignment, there may be ones that got through. So we need to keep getting the intelligence, followed by action,” said Singh.