Terrorists switch tactics, lob grenades at securitymen from behind stone-pelters

NEW DELHI: As a fresh cycle of violence is witnessed in Jammu & Kashmir after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani , the security agencies are noticing a switch in tactics, with terrorists now taking shelter behind stone-pelters to lob grenades at security personnel, increased terror activity in outlying areas of towns and a new sense of belligerence among protesters. 

According to intelligence sources, during the protests over the past few days in J&K, it has come to light that terrorists were using stone-pelting mobs as a shield to lob grenades at police and security forces. It was this trend that was highlighted by J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday when she blamed the latest round of unrest on "vested interests". 

This tactic serves as a double-edge weapon as it not only targets the security personnel but exposes them to a situation where self-defence may lead them to fire at the protesters, resulting in fatalities among impassioned youth.

"Deaths of young men have a spiralling effect, leading to further protests against use of force and giving terrorists a reason to fan popular sentiment against the security forces in J&K," said an intelligence officer. 

Another new trend visible to the security establishment is that while towns are relatively quiet, outlying areas have become the new terror hotbeds. This is where more terrorists are hiding and being engaged in encounters by counter-terror forces, the officer said. 

Interestingly, while the latest round of protests are not huge as far as number of protesters are concerned, they are turning out to far more violent. "The belligerence of protesters is a bigger problem than their numbers.

It has been noticed while the strength of the protesting mobs may not be huge, they are more belligerent in engaging the security forces in a confrontation," a top officer of the security establishment said and pointed to recent incidents of violent mobs setting fire to police stations and CRPF pickets and even pushing a policeman along with his vehicle into the Jhelum river. "This shows that if there are indeed 'outsider' elements instigating the mobs, they have succeeded in convincing the protesters to be more belligerent and destructive," said the officer.

While intelligence agencies have recorded the shift in terror tactics and shall accordingly revise counter strategies, a top official expressed concern over "recycling" of surrendered militants. "Around 5-8 surrendered terrorists are said to have turned around in the recent past and rejoined terror ranks," said an officer. Incidentally, Hizbul terrorist Sartaj Ahmed Sheikh, killed along with Wani in the Kokernag encounter on Friday, was also a 'recycled' terrorist. He was arrested and released as part of a surrender scheme but is believed to have rejoined Hizbul ranks in 2014.

Source http://m.timesofindia.com/india/Terrorists-switch-tactics-lob-grenades-at-securitymen-from-behind-stone-pelters/articleshow/53183182.cms


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