By Jai Kumar Verma
New Delhi. 09 April 2018. The joint operation of Army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Jammu & Kashmir Police, achieved spectacular success on April one, when security forces exterminated thirteen hardcore terrorists in three different encounters in the valley. Out of 13 terrorists one was Pakistani while other 12 were local Kashmiris. Three Army personnel were also martyred in the fierce encounter which started on March 31 night and concluded on April 1.
The Intelligence Bureau provided confirmed information about the hideouts of the terrorists consequently security forces were not deterred when Pakistan sponsored stone-pelters gathered at the sight of encounters with disingenuous intention to disrupt the operations so that encircled terrorists can escape. Intelligence reports confirm that ISI has created more than 300 WhatsApp groups and one group contains about 350 persons and when security forces cordon the hideouts of terrorists the handling officers of the WhatsApp groups sitting in Pakistan sends messages to their lackeys to assemble at operational areas to disturb and interrupt security forces. The security forces had to use pellet guns to control the unruly mob, in which four civilians were killed and about sixty stone-pelters were injured.
In these operations security forces also arrested one terrorist which may be very fruitful. First of all the arrested terrorist might give significant information during interrogation and it also proves that security forces do not intend to exterminate the terrorists and if terrorists surrender they can save their lives. Not only this, in Dialgam encounter security forces tried that the terrorists surrender and they also took the family members of one Jihadist who talked the terrorist but the latter refused to surrender as they were convinced that if they die during Jihad they would go to heaven.
Both Lt. Gen. A.K.Bhatt Corps Commander of XV Corps and Jammu and Kashmir DGP S P Vaid stated in the press conference that it was a major counter-offensive operation against terrorist outfits in Kashmir in which memorable success was achieved.
The political leaders and policy planners must consider that out of killed 13 terrorists about 12 were local Kashmiris which may an indication that Pakistan and secessionists are able to recruit more local unemployed youths which is an unfortunate trend.
The decimated terrorists were responsible for numerous terrorist activities in the valley including deplorable killing of Lieutenant Umar Fayaz.
The current operation was a big setback not only to Pakistan supported terrorist outfits like Lashker-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen but to separatist leaders also. J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti not only expressed her sorrow over the death of civilians but also visited to the house of 22 year slain civilian at Kangan in Ganderbal.
The secessionist leaders on behest of Pakistan took advantage of the killings of local Kashmiri youths and called for a two days strike in the valley. The call was given by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) which consists of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. The JRL asked Kashmiris to suspend business, close markets and educational institutions and offer funeral prayers. The public transport, educational institutions and markets remained closed in response of strike call. Heavy contingents of police force were posted in the valley to deal the situation. As Pakistan backed secessionists wanted to carry out some terrorist activities during Bund government imposed several restrictions on the movement of locals. Separatist leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Farooq were placed under house arrest while Yasin Malik was arrested. Government has also snapped internet services in troubled areas of Kashmir as preventive measures.
The sinister Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is worried as security forces are working under a long term plan to eradicate terrorism from the valley so that long lasting peace can be established. Under Operation All-Out (OAO) multiple security agencies including Army, CRPF, J&K Police, Border Security Force (BSF), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) are working together against secessionists as well as various terrorist outfits including Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, Al-Badr etc. The operation All Out was planned by Ministry of Home Affairs and Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor and former IB Chief is closely supervising the operation. In the operation security forces exterminated about 206 terrorists in 2017 while 55 terrorists are already eliminated up to April 1, 2018. The operation was launched after meticulous planning by security organisations especially by all the intelligence organisations operating in the state. The intelligence organisations chalked out a district wise plan mentioning the names of terrorists, support agents, hideouts and if possible the weapons possessed by terrorists.
As security forces are eliminating terrorists Pakistan has enhanced infiltration of new terrorists and to support infiltration they also increased ceasefire violations. According to analysts Pakistan made 270 infiltration attempts in 2016 which enhanced to 310 in 2017 while in 2018 the infiltration is much more as according to media reports there are frequent encounters on the borders and Indian security forces are successfully killing the intruders. Pakistan has enhanced ceasefire violations, as in 2016 there were 449 violations only but in 2017 the number crossed 800 which also indicates that India’s Western neighbour is becoming impatient as more and more terrorists are eliminated in the valley. On the other hand Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman alleged that India has enhanced the ceasefire violations and in 2017 there were 1300 ceasefire violations by Indian forces in which 52 Pakistanis were killed while 175 were injured.
Security forces have exterminated large number of terrorists and neutralised several Over Ground Workers (OGWs) but neither the peace was restored nor the sway of separatists declined. The interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma also could not break ice with separatists as their handlers sitting across the border are not interested in restoring the peace in the valley.
Government should try to win the confidence of the masses and in these effort patriot political leaders, intellectuals, professors etc. can be of great help. These good intentioned people must convince the local Kashmiris about the futility of fighting with Indian forces. These patriots should also expose the separatist leaders, as they have settled their children out of Kashmir while instigate children of others to face guns. Not only this, condition of residents of Pak Occupied Kashmir (POK) is pitiable and J&K does not have enough resources to become an independent country. Pakistan is financing the separatist leaders and they are creating disturbances in the valley to fulfill their personal interests.
Sadbhavana rallies of security forces are also welcomed by masses and it enhanced the goodwill of security forces. Government should also recruit more persons from J&K as it will also reduce animosity towards security forces.
Government should immediately stop the misuse of mosques, there are reports that in few mosques separatists deliver fiery speeches against India and the loud speakers are utilized to spread anti-India feelings. Efforts should be made to bring back Sufi culture of the state.
Pakistan has waged a low intensity war against India and all efforts of peaceful negotiation were failed hence India must destroy terrorist training centres well inside POK. At present Indian security forces are exterminated infiltrators who are low level terrorists. Indian intelligence agencies should launch special operations so that leaders of terrorist outfits and their trainers are eliminated. If intelligence agencies fail to launch special operations then Air Force should be used to demolish training centres. Indian leaders should make it clear that they are not afraid of nuclear warheads as in nuclear war Pakistan would be completely ruined.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) which was created to curb terrorism is investigating the devious businessmen who were financing the terrorist outfits, if NIA succeeds in curbing the finance of secessionists it will be a big blow to the secessionist movement as most of the separatist leaders are not working for principles but working for money.
India should also re-examine Indus Water Treaty and should withdraw Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status from Pakistan as it has not reciprocated from last about 24 years.
India should also investigate the background of so called human right activists who criticise and condemn security forces but do not utter a single word when Indian soldiers are martyred. India must continue isolating Pakistan from world arena although it will not be easy but it will give dividend as recently US President Donald Trump has suspended financial assistance to Pakistan.
The present government should also initiate a national debate about revocation of article 370 and must generate the conditions so that persons, who left Kashmir because of terrorists, return back to the valley. The persons and parties who oppose the return of Kashmiris left the valley under duress or oppose the revocation of article 370 must be exposed to the nation.
(Jai Kumar Verma is a Delhi-based strategic analyst and a retired senior intelligence officer. The views in the article are solely the author’s. He can be contacted at email@example.com)