With the investigations into the recently busted terror network in Bangalore leading to arrest of several students of top professional colleges, the Karnataka police have asked managements of the institutions to tighten the screening process for admissions.
"In the changing scenario where police have stumbled upon terror networks using students of various professional colleges to disseminate their philosophy, to act as conduits in their scheme, colleges need to change their style of functioning," a top police officer said.
The terror links in which students of the professional colleges were involved came to light following the recent arrest of Mohammad Asif, a final year student of the Karnataka Institute of Medical Science, Hubli. His arrest led to detention of several others with links to the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in Hubli region.
"Though colleges might not have expertise or it is not their primary duty to look into security aspects, in the changed circumstances they need to tighten the screening process and explore background of students," the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
"These precautionary measures might help in reducing, if not completely eliminating, the chances of dubious students getting admitted," he said.
Besides Asif, other terror suspects with professional college-background are Allabaksh Abubaker, who was doing his internship at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences,
Asadullah Abubaker, a first year student at Ayurveda Maha Vidyalaya in Hubli and Yahya, an engineer from Regional Engineering College, Kozhikode.
The arrested revealed that they had participated in meetings organised by the SIMI. They had held meetings in forests and taken youths on weekend trips with the objective of disseminating 'jehadi' teaching and holding trainings.
"Hostel wardens need to keep a careful watch on movements and activities of the inmates. Teachers whose primary duty is to teach, could also help by being alert and noticing if anything is amiss," the official said.
Asked whether the police would rope in these professional colleges to sensitise them about the possibility of terror network working in their campus, he replied in the negative.
"General awareness through the media should suffice. Any elaborate campaign might tend to create a scary atmosphere in the campus and might stifle the environment," he said.
Analysing the reasons why militant outfits were looking at college campuses as recruiting grounds, he said, "Colleges have known to be places where philosophies, ideas could be easily disseminated, since there are large groups of students. At this age students are open to ideas, there is an urge to experiment and are free to think and believe what they want."
Many a time they have been used to disseminate the positive philosophies but some time this factor could be misused especially when elements see in these campuses an ideal recruiting ground for carrying on their objectives.
These students despite their educational background fall into the trap because, perhaps they fail to see the issues "in the right perspective and were easily swayed by the teachings of the militants," he said.