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OpinionsHow We Can Defeat Targeted Killings In Kashmir

How We Can Defeat Targeted Killings In Kashmir


Brigadier Narender Kumar (retd) 

If the government is able to deliver the promised projects, the large number of youth will be taken off the streets and that is not acceptable to the Pakistan army nor the terrorists hiding in Pakistan, notes Brigadier Narender Kumar (retd).

Against the backdrop of internal instability due to its economic meltdown and political crisis, the Pakistan military does not want to let stabilise and slip out of its control.

As a consequence, the Pakistan army has to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir by low-cost high impact options, and that is the targeted killing of non-Kashmiris and non-Muslims.

There is no major logistical issue involved in such acts of terror. It requires handing over a pistol to a hybrid terrorist who has no history and record of crime or terror with the police or security forces.

Dropping of pistols and a few rounds of ammunition with the help of drones is far easier than infiltrating a group of terrorists.

The effect of targeted killing is far higher than attacking security personnel convoys, garrisons or patrols.

The advantage with the so-called hybrid terrorists is that they are invisible and operate from within society and from their homes with no suspicion about their activities.

The blame for such attacks does not directly attract the culpability of Pakistan since the terrorists executing such attacks are indigenous.

It has triggered an exodus, thereby indicating that Kashmir is unstable and the law and order situation is volatile. Thus refuting the government's claims of establishment of peace post-withdrawal of Article 370.

The government is attracting flak from political parties in Kashmir as well as the rest of the country and even from the non-Muslim population still living in Kashmir.

Another motivation behind the targeted killings comes from the lack of reaction of the silent majority to the new wave of terrorism.

The silence of the majority population against such senseless violence is taken as an endorsement of the society of such acts of terror.

A hybrid terrorist who could be a student during day time and a terrorist during the night more often go scot-free and that encourages others to also follow suit since it is an adventure to go and kill someone for the so-called jihad.

During the current year, Kashmir's industry is reaping rich dividends.

In the last five months, the number of tourists visiting the Kashmir Valley has already overtaken the total number of tourists who visited Kashmir in 2021.

Today, more than 100 flights land every day in Srinagar.

After three years, paddy cultivation is going on in full swing and with the onset of the apple season, the demand for labour from outside the state will increase.

There is a surge in economic activity in Kashmir. This is the period for construction and development of projects in J&K.

As per the ministry of home affairs, 141,815 new projects have been taken up under various schemes in and Kashmir since August 2019.

The state has already attracted investment of approximately Rs 52,000 crores (Rs 520 billion) which has the potential of generating employment of 237,000.

If the government is able to deliver the promised projects, the large number of youth will be taken off the streets and that is not acceptable to the Pakistan army nor the terrorists hiding in Pakistan.

The benefits of an economic upsurge in Kashmir is making the Pakistan army edgy and thus the spate of terror activities to derail peace dividends is understandable.

There are reports that in the last two days 30% of advance booking in hotels has been cancelled and the enthusiasm of tourists to go to Kashmir has died down.

Today migrant workers have become an integral part of the local .

The furniture industry, handicrafts, apple crop harvesting, paddy cultivation and construction activities are driven by migrant workers.

There is a huge demand of migrant workers even in the hotel industry.

The spate of killings in Kashmir creates fear among hapless civilians.

As per some estimates, there are still more than 200,000 Kashmiri Hindus in the Kashmir Valley including those who are posted in the Valley from other parts of J&K and the rest of the country.

This does not include the migrant labour force. The exodus of labourers and Kashmiri Hindus have already begun and that is bad news for Kashmir and law enforcement agencies.

It is easy to blame the security forces for such killings since these killings are executed at different places without any pattern. Hence, it is not easy to anticipate the next act of terror.

Individuals cannot be given protection in remote areas since they are scattered and have to move from their place of work to their residence all by themselves.

Yes, clusters can be provided security, but to provide foolproof security to individuals is near impossible.

Therefore, what could be done to ensure that an exodus does not take place and no lives are lost?

Unfortunately, the silent majority is incentivising the hybrid terrorists by their silence.

Family members of terrorists continue to gain respect being the parents of jihadists or so-called martyrs.

Family members do not pay the cost for the deeds of their children.

No doubt, the intelligence network needs to be more potent, but what is more important is to carry out an audit of the migrant workers and Hindu families living in the Valley so that a security grid can be put in place.

I was given to understand that there is no system of registration of migrant labour visiting the Valley for work. The home ministry has now issued directions for the audit and registration of migrant labourers and non-Kashmiri workers engaged in various projects and government jobs so that their security needs can be worked out.

So far, local employers have no liability as far as security or compensation to the deceased is concerned. They need to be made accountable for the safety, security and compensation of the labour they employ.

Last year, there were reports that some employers had held back payments of labour so that they don't rush out even if there is a threat to their lives. This blackmail of migrant labour must end.

Jammu and Kashmir is going through unprecedented security challenges. Thus, the measures must also be extraordinary.

There is a need to bring a law or ordinance so that properties belonging to the terrorists could be seized and monetised. The money should thereafter be deposited in a corpus fund from which compensation should be paid to the families of the victims.

As a punitive measure, the family members of terrorists must not be extended any government welfare schemes.

The entire network of terrorism in Kashmir revolves around overground workers (OGW). Unless this nexus is broken, Kashmir is unlikely to see the end of terrorism. It will continue to manifest in different shades and dimensions.

It is very difficult to find proof or culpability of OGW, thus unconventional methods are the only way out to trap and curtail the OGW network.

The jihadi cause has always been a hallmark of people willing to undergo personal sacrifices. The most unfortunate part of Islamic terrorism is that it is one form of reaction to the perception that the fundamentalist way of life is under attack and is about to become extinct.

Thus, jihadis consider it as part of their religious duty to justify such dastardly acts of terrorism. But the irony is that such acts of senseless violence will isolate the Kashmiri awam further.

If Kashmiri society does not wake up and rise against these targeted killings, the next victims of violence will be Shias, Ahmediyas, Gujjars and Bakerwals. ( Courtesy: Rediff.Com)

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.


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