Killing innocent Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir - How Pakistan is trying to revive the dying terrorism

 Barely two days after three people including a businessman Makhan Lal Bindroo were killed in Srinagar, terrorists attacked another school in the Eidgah area of Srinagar and killed its principal and a teacher after checking the identity cards of all staff and ensuring that these were the two from minority community. Five cowardly killings in a span of less than 48 hours have triggered another debate over the changing modus-operandi of terrorists in Kashmir Valley. This kind of terrorist behaviour is not new. Ever since the abrogation of Article 370 and start of “Operation All Out”, remarkable changes have been seen in the terror activities. Firstly, due to increased crackdown on terror sympathisers and financers, new recruitments were affected. Secondly, since the vigil on the Line of Control is very strict and a three-tier security deployment is maintained, availability of arms and ammunition to terrorists was reduced. Thirdly, due to their utter desperation, terror groups have started targeting soft targets like political leaders, soldiers on leave and social leaders in frustration.

There were many events in last few months which prompted terror perpetrators sitting across our western border to think of a new strategy to revive terrorism. Lal Chowk of Srinagar where even hoisting our National Flag was not possible, Janmashtami processions were made after almost three decades. Significant number of Kashmiri Pandits started returning back to their native places and Srinagar was comparatively peaceful than the previous years. The peaceful co-existence between both the communities was being established and so it was natural for terrorists sitting across to get worried. So, they instructed their puppets in Kashmir Valley to launch targeted attacks on Hindu community so that a communal rift and an atmosphere of fear can be created among the residents. Here are the key points of Pakistan’s new terror strategy.

Avoid direct confrontation with the security forces

Indian Army has adopted a new strategy due to which large number of terror commanders have been killed in the last few years. Anyone who is appointed as a commander in terror ranks is tracked using various means and targeted using multiple approaches. Due to this, the number of active terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir has reduced drastically. This prompted Pakistan to issue new instructions to the terrorists - Avoid direct confrontation with the security forces. Terror attacks in last few years clearly resonate this strategy.

Recruit young boys and brainwash them first before giving military training

Pakistan observed that anyone who is publicised as a terrorist, either at the time of joining or at the time of giving an appointment in a terror group, is killed in no time, primarily because Indian Security Forces track him down easily. So, they resorted to recruiting non-descript young boys and brainwashing them before sending on any such task. During some of the encounters in past few months, it was observed that the killed terrorist was not in the list of security forces and was recruited silently contrary to the earlier practice where an announcement used to be made by the terror group glorifying new recruitment.

Use them to kill soft targets

As mentioned earlier, since these young boys are inexperienced and novice, they are used to kill unarmed, unprotected soft targets like people of minority community, small time politicians and community leaders. The overground workers analyse the target well and when there is no threat of security forces in the vicinity, they strike. Not only this, but they also resort to ‘Shoot and Scoot strategy’ which means strike the target and run away. In most of these cases, escape routes are planned well in advance and overground workers and sympathisers of terror groups help in the same. Due to this, while there is no significant threat of getting killed in retaliation as these soft targets are not well protected, identity of the killer remains secret, and an atmosphere of terror grows significantly.

Use of handheld arms/ grenades

In almost all attacks in Jammu and Kashmir during this year, terrorists used pistols and grenades to kill security forces or soft targets. These weapons can be easily hidden and carried to the site of action without getting noticed. Further, it is easy to escape using these weapons which makes the detection and identification of the perpetrator difficult. A very large portion of all seized weapon caches on LOC/ International Border was made up of pistols and grenades only, which signifies the theory that there is a change in Pakistani strategy and terrorists are changing their way of working.

Give the issue a communal rift using political leaders

Another trend is observed during all these killings and that is reaction by certain political leaders. They are the first ones to react and they are the first ones to condemn Indian Government’s policies behind it rather than targeting cross-border terrorism. At the same time, social media like Twitter gets flooded with messages floated by ISI controlled handles who create an atmosphere of misinformation while Pakistani politicians try to internationalise the issue by making fiery statements. This clearly indicates that there is someone from across the border driving all this.

Kashmir is witnessing return of peace once again and people have understood that terrorism and separatism cannot flourish in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the biggest pain for Pakistan, who has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue for over seven decades. By creating a communal rift, it wants to give few more days of life to the dying terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. It also wants to reinstate fear in the minds of common Kashmiri people that to get killed, one need not to be an influential person. Being from minority community is sufficient enough. However, the way things are changing on the banks of the mighty Jhelum, and the way people are participating in building a peaceful state, it is certain that the evil actions of Pakistan will fail in no time.

The author is a veteran from Armed Forces. He is a known Defence Strategist with keen interests in International affairs, Maritime security, Terrorism and Internal Security.



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