In his visit to Kashmir on the first week of October this year, Home Minister Amit Shah asked the security forces’ grid to proactively conduct coordinated counter-terrorism operations so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a prosperous and peaceful Jammu and Kashmir is fulfilled.
Echoing the same sentiment, J&K’s Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha later said in a TV interview that post-Aug 2019 the terrorism has almost been eliminated, and the ecosystem of terror has been dismantled. Those who used to strengthen it have faced the law of the land.
Noose tightened on those linked with terrorism
Mr Sinha is aware of the tough anti-terror policies that his administration has adopted in J&K which are aimed at addressing and eroding “the ideology, which is working as the operating software to the entire campaign of terrorism in J&K”. The law enforcement agencies and the security grid are duly translating the tough anti-terror policies into action, and the individuals or organisation having links with terrorism are facing the heat. Noose is being tightened against those involved in terror funding and the terror recruitment modules are being busted on a regular basis.
Crackdown on JEI step in the right direction
The major crackdown on banned outfit Jamaat e Islami (JEI) in Jammu and Kashmir by the State Investigation Agency (SIA) is a step in this direction. On November 10, the SIA seized assets of JEI worth hundreds of crores of rupees and has identified 188 Jamaat properties across J&K which will be seized in coming days and months.
It Is the first seizure of assets of JeI and it started in Shopian for a reason. Since Shopian is highly significant for Jamaat and chose to launch the crackdown on party assets in the same district, the SIA has sent a strong signal that law enforcing agencies are hitting the last nail in the coffin of terror ecosystem in J&K.
“Shopian properties of JEI are the first to be notified in a series of properties belonging to the group in other districts of J&K. Shopian has a lot of significance vis a vis Jamaat,” said an SIA statement. According to SIA, the seizure of assets will help “uproot the menace of terror funding to a great extent in J&K, besides being a stepping stone towards ensuring rule of law and a society without fear”. Jamaat is accused of supporting terrorism. It was the ideological mentor of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest indigenous terrorist group in Kashmir in the 1990s.
Why action against JEI was initiated
In 2019, the Home Ministry banned the Jammu and Kashmir-based group, Jamaat-i-Islami (JeI), as “an unlawful association” under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
In a notification on February 27, 2019, the government said the JeI “has been indulging in activities which are prejudicial to internal security and public order, and have the potential of disrupting the unity and integrity of the country.”
“Whereas, the Central government is of the opinion that JeI is in close touch with militant outfits and is supporting extremism and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere; JeI is supporting claims for secession of a part of the Indian territory from the Union and supporting terrorist and separatist groups fighting for this purpose by indulging in activities and articulations intended to disrupt the territorial integrity of India,” the notification said.
Action against schools run by Falah-e-Aam Trust
Then in June 2022, the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir banned schools run by Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT), which are affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) J&K. The UT administration, in an order issued by the principal secretary to the government School education department, has directed Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to seal all FAT institutions in consultation with district administration within the next 15 days.
“All the students presently studying in these banned institutions shall admit themselves to nearby Government schools for the current academic session, i.e. 2021-22. All CEOs/Principals/ZEOs shall facilitate the admission of these students,” the order stated. The official also said that no new admission should be taken to these “banned” FAT institutions, and no further registration of these schools will be done from now onwards.
Steller role of SIA in dismantling terror ecosystem
With such a big crackdown on Jamaat properties and listing of other assets of the banned organisation for seizure, the steller role of SIA in countering and dismantling terror infrastructure and ecosystem has come into limelight.
Since its inception in November 2021, the State Investigation Agency has been able to strike at the very core of “operating software to the campaign of terrorism” in J&K. It has cracked high-profile and sensational cases within one year of its inception.
Those dealing with the “cases of special nature” believe that the premier investigation agency of J&K UT formed for “coordinating with NIA and other central agencies” for speedy and effective investigation and prosecution of all kinds of terrorism related cases has managed to do the task with an exceptional disposal rate and professionalism.
Need to address ideology working as operating software for terrorism
Special DG CID and SIA’s Director R R Swain has said that there is a “need to address the ideology, which is working as the operating software to the entire campaign of terrorism.” He has added that those providing “logistic, financial, ideological support to terrorism as an ecosystem” were much more dangerous.
“So since its inception, SIA is aimed at dismantling the ecosystem and infrastructure of terror networks,” he added. The agency has investigated 450 cases of special nature with a disposal rate of 65 percent generating tremendous fear among anti-peace elements within the first year of its inception.
SIA was constituted vide J&K government Order No 286-Home of 2021 dated November 1, 2021 as a specialised nodal agency for “coordinating with NIA and other central agencies” to take measures as required for speedy and effective investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related cases, all terrorism-related cases, all terrorist activities including terrorist financing and terrorism linked cases.