New Delhi, Oct 12: At least 60 Kashmiri youth have joined terror groups, mainly Hizbul Mujahideen, this year and the trend continues, senior Home Ministry officials said today, adding that social media is being used in a big way for indoctrination.
To curb the trend, security agencies have been asked to closely monitor the social networking sites, the officials said and claimed that nearly 20 such youth, who had shown inclination towards joining the militant groups, were prevented after a thorough counselling by police and security officials.
Official figure of the Kashmiri youth joining militancy till September this year stands at around 60. Many parents do not even inform the police if their son is missing from home, the officials said.
The youth are getting attracted towards militancy by videos and pictures posted by a band of youth led by Burhan Wani, a 20 year-old from Tral, who has become the local face for Hizbul Mujahideen, the officials say.
While claiming that 20 youth in their 20s were prevented from joining militancy, the officials said their messages and comments on the Facebook were monitored as they were developing interest in Hizbul Mujahideen, particularly Burhan, who has been labelled as 'A' category terrorist with a reward of Rs 10 lakh on information leading to his arrest.
Burhan is known for spreading inciting videos on social media where he had asked youth to join Hizbul. The majority of the youth who have joined the militant ranks have Jamaat-e-Islami background and hail from Pulwama district.
The other worrisome news for the security agencies is that educated youth are joining the terror groups. There are unconfirmed reports that some of the youth hail from downtown city of Srinagar which the security agencies were trying to verify. Militancy was at its peak in 1990s when youth from downtown Srinagar city had crossed over to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir for arms training. However, these days the training is being imparted in jungles of South Kashmir.