The attack on Sunjuwan military station in Jammu, claiming the lives of five soldiers and a civilian, is yet another grim reminder that Pakistan-backed terrorists can pick targets at will to create mayhem. The pre-dawn strike on Saturday by the armed militants, who sneaked into the heavily fortified installation through the rear end, exposes chinks in the security set-up. The fact that the militants in army fatigues, suspected to belong to “Afzal Guru squad” of Jaish-e-Mohammad, could walk for over 200 meters deep inside the well-guarded campus and manage to reach the staff quarters reflects a serious security breach. It is shocking that the attack took place despite a red alert over possible terror strikes to mark the fifth anniversary of the execution of the 2001 Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru. This was one of the worst terror strikes in the trouble-torn state since the Uri army camp attack in 2016, in which 19 soldiers were killed. It came just three days after a shoot-out at a Srinagar hospital in which a top militant commander escaped from police custody after two policemen died in the exchange of fire. It is unthinkable that terrorists could gain access to one of the heavily-guarded military stations, located far away from the border area, without logistic support from their local contacts. The growing public support to terrorists, their glorification and increased radicalisation are the worrying dimensions of the Kashmir imbroglio. The rise of a new breed of militants–educated and tech-savvy–is the disturbing new reality in the border state.
Ever since the death of Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in July, 2016, the valley has been in the grip of violence with stone-pelting incidents becoming the order of the day. While Pakistan continues to push terrorists across the border to fuel unrest in the region, what is more worrying is the growing radicalisation of the local youth. The ground beneath Kashmir’s feet is indeed slipping. The fidayeen squads of the JeM have been able to carry out their deadly attacks on security forces at will. The “Afzal Guru Squad”, formed by Masood Azhar in 2014, first surfaced with a series of raids in mid-2014 on army installations along the LoC and the International Border. The most devastating attack took place at Pathankot airbase and followed by attack on Uri camp. Both LeT and JeM are based in Pakistan and nurtured by its military establishment as part of a devious design to keep the terror pot boiling. It is for this reason that Islamabad is facing total isolation at global level. Pakistan must be declared as state sponsor of terror for its unabashed encouragement to terror acts directed against India.