In the last three years, about 100 Kashmiri youths who have gone to Pakistan for a short period on valid visas have either not returned or gone missing after returning, due to which security agencies have been alerted.
Security agencies suspect that these youth are potential ‘sleeper cells’ of militant groups operating across the border.
Various officials of security agencies said that the security forces were alerted after five militants were killed in the forest of the border area of North Kashmir’s Handwara in April last year when it was discovered that one of these militant was a local citizen. Who went to Pakistan in 2018 and did not return after that.
He said that between April 1 and April 6 last year, youths from Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag districts of South Kashmir were seen in groups of infiltrating militants and they all went to Pakistan with valid documents and never returned thereafter.
Officials said security agencies, including immigration officers and officials at the Delhi airport at the Wagah border, have been collecting data on Kashmiri youths traveling on valid visas for more than seven days over the last three years.
He said that the figures found during this period are surprising and in some cases it was found that the youth never came back and some youth went missing after returning. After this, there was a possibility that they might have become ‘sleeper cells’, who are waiting to get instructions from Pakistani intelligence agency ISI or their bosses from across the border.
Officials said that Kashmiri youths who had gone to Pakistan in recent years were called for questioning and security agencies did a proper analysis of their activities after their return. He said that there were some inconveniences during this period, but precaution is always better than cure.