One of the key reasons cited by the NDA government while revoking the special status of Jammu & Kashmir three years ago was that it would lead to the decline in militancy. However, recruitment into militant ranks remains a cause for concern for the security apparatus in the union Territory. This is a disturbing trend […]
One of the key reasons cited by the NDA government while revoking the special status of Jammu & Kashmir three years ago was that it would lead to the decline in militancy. However, recruitment into militant ranks remains a cause for concern for the security apparatus in the union Territory. This is a disturbing trend which exposes the Centre’s claim that the development mantra would do the trick in the Valley. Since 2019, more than 690 militants have been killed in J&K, 132 of them this year. In the same period, 527 individuals joined militant ranks. The trend is largely attributed to the propaganda being carried out by militant groups on social media platforms. Another alarming trend is that the recruitment age has been lowered to include even school dropouts. More often than not, the security forces find out that an individual has joined an outfit only after an incident. There appears to be a strategic shift in militant recruitment. The current modus operandi of handlers is that they immediately ask the terror recruits to commit an act of terror violence. Once they are involved, it becomes a way of preventing their return to the social mainstream. Cases filed under PSA (Public Safety Act) have already risen to 463 so far in 2022 from the previous year’s 277. In the period between 2019 and 2022, at least 136 civilians have been killed across J&K while 146 security personnel and at least 57 officials of the J&K police also lost their lives in the same period.
The militancy in the Valley had reached a more dangerous phase after the advent of a social media phenomenon that sought to romanticise the Azadi movement. This led to the emergence of local leaders like Burhan Wani. The number of youths who are acquiring arms is now going up steadily. So are the instances of guerrilla warfare. What is alarming is that the terror attacks have been occurring in areas which were earlier declared militancy-free. The Azadi sentiment has been rapidly turning into an Islamist movement with the militants going after migrants, teachers, bank employees, small businessmen and other sections to generate more outrage. The pattern of recent killings, picking non-Muslim targets, suggests a throwback to the 1990s, a decade marked by mayhem leading to the mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. The dangerous trend of selective killings reflects a macabre strategy to send out a message that there is no room for non-Muslims and non-locals in Kashmir. The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has clearly emboldened the terrorist outfits bent on creating trouble in India with the active support from their Pakistani handlers. The recent surge in terror attacks exposes the hollowness of the Centre’s claim that normalcy has been restored in the region.