“New Job,” Said Kashmir Professor Who Joined Terrorists. Killed In 2 Days

The professor’s turn to militancy and quick death have shocked many in the conflict-torn region

New Delhi:  Mohammad Rafi Bhat, a sociology professor at the University of Kashmir, left the school at around 3:30 p.m. Friday, telling his students he was starting a new job. By Sunday, he was dead.

Rafi, 32, had left his cushy life as an academic to join a terror group. On Sunday, Indian troops cornered him in a village in southern Kashmir.

The professor’s turn to militancy and quick death have shocked many in the conflict-torn region of Kashmir, where militants primarily come from less-privileged backgrounds. Rafi, who held a PhD and had a strong academic record, may have been the most educated militant to be killed in almost three-decades of strife in Kashmir, according to local reports.

“It has surprised us and it has also frightened us.” said Gull Wani, one of Rafi’s colleages at the University of Kashmir, of the professor’s decision to join the militants. “There was already a sense of hopelessness in Kashmir, but now I think that has deepened. You fear for your students, for your own son.”

Muslim-majority Kashmir has long been caught in a tug of war between India and Pakistan, sparking violent separatist movements in the region. India’s government blames Pakistan for sponsoring terror in Kashmir, while Pakistan has accused India of human-rights abuses against Kashmiris.

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