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Educated youths joining terrorist organisations biggest challenge for the new J&K government

NEW DELHI: Shakeel Ahmed Wani and Ashiq Hussain Dar had much in common although they were ten years apart in age. Both had a master’s degree as well as a bachelor’s in education, yet they ended up joining terrorist organisations and were killed in separate encounters with the security forces in Jammu & Kashmir recently, The Economic Times says. Increasing recruitment of educated youths such as Wani and Dar in terrorist organisations represents one of the biggest challenges for the Mufti Sayeed government which took charge on Sunday.

The new CM may have stirred a controversy by appearing to thank Pakistan for allowing peaceful polls in the Valley, but data shows he will need to win over youths at home to make a success of his tenure. Dar, 24, a resident of Turkewangam village, was selected as a village level worker in May last year and worked for three months as a government official before joining Hizbul Mujahideen.

Wani, 34, was a teacher in a government school in Pakarpura, Badgam, prior to which he had worked as a video editor with Doordarshan, but he gave it all up in July last year, when he joined Jaishe-Muhammad.  While Wani was killed in an operation in Gaader forests in Keller area of Shopian in January, Dar was gunned down in a major army operation in Hef Sharmal village last week. Shiraz Ahmad Ghani, 26, from Panjaram in Kulgam, who had similarly joined Lashkar-e-Taiba while pursuing his PhD after completing his MCom, was killed in November last year. “Educated youth joining militancy is really a matter of concern for us. There is a need to change the mindset of the youth,” Ali Muhammad,deputy IG, South Kashmir, recently told the media.

The police have undertaken several initiatives such as organising counselling camps to wean the youth away from militancy.

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