Selfies, WhatsApp And Facebook: What Kashmir's Terrorists Use Today

17 October 2015
Sheikh Zaffar Iqbal

Srinagar: Wearing sunglasses and flaunting fancy cellphones, Waseem Malla and Zakir Bhat, both in their twenties, were not two regular men who snapped selfies standing in an upscale Srinagar neighbourhood recently. The men, who dropped out of college in the middle of Arts and Engineering degrees, became terrorists years ago. They belong to Shopian and Pulwama districts in South Kashmir and are a part of a south Kashmir-based group of Hizbul Mujahideen led by 22-year-old Burhan Wani. Burhan has emerged as the poster boy of a new wave of home-grown terrorism. The local terrorists use their social media clout and attract more local youths to terrorism. The Army says home-grown terrorists don't cross into Pakistan for training. Instead, they train deep in the jungles of the Kashmir valley and use the Internet for propaganda and for flaunting their activities. 'Today social media is a tool which is freely available whether it is Facebook or WhatsApp. So instead of creating an act of violation to grab the attention of media, they are using the social media, a catchy video is uploaded and the media picks it up,' Lt Gen Satish Dua the General Officer Commanding of 15 Corps based in Srinagar told NDTV. The Army says infiltration levels have dropped drastically over the years - one reason why locals are increasingly being 'pushed into militancy'. In the last one year, at least 59 local men have joined terrorism. Seven of them have been killed or captured. 'They are unable to infiltrate, so the number of terrorist in the Valley has gone down. So to boost the numbers, this process of local recruitment has started. They are our misguided youth who have been actually lured to the folds of militancy and are poorly trained,' Lt Gen Dua said.