Since January 1 this year, the security forces have neutralised 195 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, making 2017 the most successful year since 2010 in terms of number of terrorists eliminated. Besides the number of kills, what is heartening is that the security forces have also managed to wean away at least 60 youngsters from the path of senseless violence. Speaking to Republic, top security sources attributed the success to greater synergy between the army, the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the CRPF and central security agencies.
“There has been a greater synergy between the security forces. Also the inputs being generated by the Jammu and Kashmir police is amazing. It is nice to see such a lovely integration between the forces,” a source told Republic TV.
This synergy was seen live on TV on November 19 when J&K DGP S P Vaid, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 15 Corps Lt Gen J S Sandhu, GOC Victor Force Maj Gen B S Raju, IG Kashmir Muneer Khan and CRPF IG Zulfiqar Hasan came together to address a media conference after the successful Bandipora encounter which led to the killing of six terrorists.
The security forces have been working in a very systematic manner since the beginning of this year. The army launched its Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in a big way as contacts with terrorists slowed down even as they carried out some big attacks. While initially, many questioned the rationale of the move, which was reintroduced after a gap of 15 years, it eventually paid rich dividends.
Sources said the aim was to ensure that the terrorists are forced to be on the move and not settle at one place. This forces the terrorists to move in larger numbers which eventually helps in gaining information about their movement. It is not that the security forces are on a killing spree. In fact, the forces have several times publicly asked the local terrorists to give up arms and join the mainstream. This month itself, the army evacuated an injured local militant after he begged for his life even though one of their own jawan was killed in the operation.
The recent return of Majid Khan, a young Kashmiri footballer who had joined Pakistan backed terror group LeT, is yet another example of synergy between forces. Even though the LeT claimed it was letting go of Majid after appeals from a heartbroken mother. The fact is that it was his family which contacted a senior officer of the Army and the security forces worked out his return.
The security forces are following the policy of “iron fist with a velvet glove” in Kashmir. The plan is to go for the terror commanders in the valley and hence one finds that this year itself, several commanders of the terror groups have been eliminated. To beef up its operations the army also inducted a few new battalions in the valley, especially in South Kashmir even as the police increased its intelligence-gathering mechanism. The anti-infiltration grid was also fortified which led to several killings at the LoC itself.
Sources said another big impact on terrorism were the raids carried out by the NIA on the alleged terror financiers in the state. Initially it was felt that the raids were just pressure tactics which will eventually die down but once it was clear that the Centre means business, it led to a fear psychosis and crippling of funds to terror groups.
Another key factor was that many in Kashmir have slowly started to realize the stupidity of the senseless violence. And that is the precise reason why there were no public protests against the NIA crackdown on the Hurriyat and the terror financiers. People have started seeing through the game and have realized while their young children pick up stones and guns influenced by the propaganda done from across the border, the kith and kin of these so called ‘leaders’ study, work and live a very normal life.
Also, the protests since the Burhan Wani encounter led to a complete standstill and loss to business and earnings. This year, Eid was not celebrated in a big way in Kashmir because of less resources in people’s hand, sources pointed out. The attacks by the terrorists also had its effect. The killing of young unarmed Kashmiri boy Lieutenant Ummar Fayaz was also a turning point. The merciless attacks on policemen, in some cases where bodies were disfigured, had its effect not just on the policemen but also on the masses. At the end of the day, it were the Kashmiris who were getting killed.
While the forces continue with their operations, what is needed is the political and civil administration to step up in a big way. The appointment of former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma is a good step. He will be talking to various sections and would be able to pinpoint what steps are needed to be taken. It would be fruitful if these steps are taken sooner than later.