November has been termed as the deadliest for militancy in Kashmir with around 33 militants losing their lives in successive encounters, some of them resulting in the killing of more than five militants. This has taken the number of militants killed up to November to 233. Last year 218 militants had similarly lost their lives. But despite that the number of active militants at the beginning of this year was around 250. And by September the number had again reached around 300, bolstered by the fresh recruitment despite killings. Militancy is thus unlikely to reduce.
A constant replenishment has kept it alive and kicking. This reality has sustained through the past three decades. And that too in times when Valley had no more than hundred militants a figure of 2012-13. And South Kashmir which now boasts of around 110 militants had just 15 of them. But despite the government forces invariably killing all the estimated number of militants for a particular year, the militancy has held on, replenished earlier mostly by the foreigners, now largely by the local boys. The pattern of the replenishment has only strengthened since the killing of the popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016. Militancy thereon jumped from an annual average of around 150 to 300.
As a result, despite the increased killings of the gunmen, militancy has continued. In fact, if the history is anything to go by, the killings have so far only fanned rather than deterred the militancy. In past also this ebb and flow have continued. And it will unlikely die down as long as the conflict over Kashmir lingers. And for militancy to end India and Pakistan need to resolve Kashmir once and for all.
But this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Kashmir is too complex an issue to be resolved in a certain timeframe. So, the situation in Kashmir seems set to follow the pattern of the past three decades. And this is such a distressing prospect for the state. It means the suffering will, unfortunately, go on. And this war of attrition will have no end. So, for the security establishment to rejoice over the death of the 233 militants and expecting it to reign in militancy is a futile hope. This, on the contrary, only gives more reason for people to resist the existing state of affairs. Yes, resolving Kashmir is a long-term project but this is the end towards which all the efforts should be geared. And these efforts have to be predominantly centred around politics than a military approach which hardly yields a solution. Given the structural nature of the state of affairs in the state, the militancy can be an endless reality.
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