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    PhD scholar turned terrorist killed: A thrill that drives the educated youth of Kashmir

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    Srinagar, Oct 11: Manan Bashir Wani, a PhD scholar turned terrorist was killed along with another Hizbul Mujahideen operative in an encounter with the security forces at Handwara district of North Kashmir.

    Manan Bashir Wani

    Wani, a PhD scholar with the Aligarh Muslim University had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen in January this year.

    Wani, who belongs to Tikipora in Lolab area of north Kashmir's Kupwara district, went missing in the first week of January. He was supposed to return home on January 6, but failed to do so.

    Also Read | 'AMU scholar Wani is with us', says Hizbul Mujahideen

    Immediately after his joined the terror group, the Hizbul Mujahideen confirmed the development. " Joining of Mannan Wani exposes the Indian propaganda that the youth of Kashmir are joining militant ranks due to unemployment and economic distress", the chief of the outfit, Syed Salahuddin said in a statement.

    "From years on, educated and qualified youths of Kashmir have been joining Hizbul Mujahideen to take this ongoing freedom movement to a logical conclusion. This spirit of youths is laudable," Salahuddin had also said.

    A test case:

    Immediately after the news of the killing of Wani broke out, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti said his death is our loss and we are losing young educated boys everyday.

    The recruitment of Wani came at a time, when the government had blamed unemployment as the prime reason for terrorism. Wani was a scholar and with his recruitment, the Hizbul Mujahideen sought to drive across the point that even the employed and educated are taking up arms for a cause.

    Security agencies do confirm that the high number of educated youth taking to terror is a concern.

    As per a report of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), an Intelligence wing of J&K Police, 32 per cent of youths who joined militancy had passed Class X and 19 per cent were undergraduates or graduates. While post-graduates constitute 7 per cent, the remaining 7 per cent who joined militancy were without any education.

    Over 65 per cent showed religious inclination before joining militancy while 10 per cent were academically inclined. While 3 per cent were drug addicts and the rest 22 per cent were vagabonds, the report submitted by CID to MHA said.

    Asserting social media had an impact on them, the CID report said 25 per cent of youths had access to social media in 2010 and 2011 respectively which rose to 30 per cent by 2014 and 70 per cent in 2015. The report says that opting for guns "is a youth phenomena" and youngsters "join militancy because of thrill seeker attitude".

    Prior to Wani, Muhammad Rafi Bhat an assistant professor in the Kashmir university too had donned the role of a terrorist. However he was shot down in an encounter just two days after he had joined the outfit.

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