Kashmir has a lot of positive news to share, particularly from the last three years. Record tourist arrival this year, foreign investors inclined to invest, all-over development and progress reflects the ground reality, record horticulture and agri produce are few of the snippets of the Kashmir success story.
This changing reality of the Naya Kashmir is not being digested by Pakistan – our arch rival and rogue neighbour – and its proxies here, and they use their old tactics of using the gullible Kashmiri through the instrument of radicalization in carrying out terror acts and thus paint the canvas of Kashmir red with innocent blood.
Innocents Killed By Pakistan
Killing of a Kashmiri Pandit, Puran Krishan Bhat, and two non-local labourers in Shopian during the past four days and many such killings in the past should be seen in this context only.
Pakistan has never wanted Kashmir and the people of Valley to prosper or live a life of peace and prosperity, and is making use of its time tested strategy of targeting innocents to fulfill its nefarious designs.
In 1990s, it indoctrinated the unemployed and innocent Kashmiri youth to pick up guns and become terrorists and brought the Kashmir to standstill for many years. It brought mayhem, chaos and destruction to Kashmir. Now Pakistan has changed the design and tactic of terrorism in Kashmir.
While till recently, Pakistan could use a strategy of open militancy where a terrorist was a known face, atleast to security agencies. Such terrorists could pick up gun and flaunt it – earlier through press and media and very recently through social media – but now the Pakistan has brought to fore a faceless terrorists – who do their common jobs in normal circumstances, have no police record, are mostly teenagers, and carry out the terror activity in given time as per the direction from handlers. Police and security agencies call these people as hybrid terrorist. It is hybrid terrorists carrying out the latest target assassinations in Kashmir.
Police have gained a lot of success in recent past by eliminating all top commanders and active ranks of the terror groups. Security officials say they are determined to uproot the terror ecosystem in Kashmir, and have brought the rate of civilian killings down by 42 percent over the last three years
On Tuesday, Kashmir Zone Police tweeted that hybrid terrorist of proscribed terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Imran Bashir Ganie of Herman, Shopian, has been arrested in connection with the killing of two non-local labourers. Police have begun the investigation in both cases of killing of Kashmiri Pandit man and two non-local workers, who have been identified as Manish Kumar and Ram Sagar, both residents of Uttar Pradesh’s Kannauj. These targeted killings as usual sparked off massive outrage in Kashmir and across the country.
Challenges For Security Forces
The target killings by hybrid terrorists is a big challenge for the security agencies. About 70 percent of the target assassinations in Kashmir in last 20 months were carried out by hybrid terrorists. Police says one in five hybrid terrorists is a juvenile. They led a double life as school or college students or dropouts, shot dead targets assigned, according to police by Pakistani handlers, and returned to normal lives without families knowing. Unlike the previous generation of militants who used social media and often attacked security forces, the new lot shun publicity. But despite this faceless terrorism, police have gained a lot of success in recent past by eliminating all top commanders and active ranks of the terror groups. Security officials say they are determined to uproot the terror ecosystem in Kashmir, and have brought the rate of civilian killings down by 42 percent over the last three years.
Forces Pushing Back
Some variables are quite satisfactory to brag about. Police data available suggests that the stone-throwing incidents dropped from 618 between January and July 2019 to 222 in 2020 and 76 in 2021.
Local recruitment, for instance, went from 53 in 2014 to 218 in 2018 to 128 in 2021. But the social media persona of these militants, experts noted, also allowed security forces to track and capture or kill them.
While top police officials do acknowledge that cracking hybrid terror modules is “definitely a challenge, but we have been pushing back with full force”. Most of the killings were carried out by The Resistance Front and Kashmir Freedom Fighter group group, both are the proxy name of a LeT terrorist outfit.
Security analysts say that the pistol is the new popular weapon of hybrid terrorism and training to these terrorists is given online. “They don’t even meet their handlers. Even the target is conveyed through online instructions from Pakistan,” said a top official. “They (local terror recruits) are operating on a case-to-case basis. Their parents, neighbours, no one knows that they are associated with any terror group. They are recruited online, given training online and even the target is conveyed online. The weapon is sent to them through a second person. They execute the killing and then return the pistol. They then go back to their daily lives.”