No Magic Bullet

THE BJP J&K  president Ravinder Raina has said  that “there can never be any rehabilitation policy for the terrorists” and that “the only policy for them is a bullet”. Raina was responding to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s recent appeal to local militants to shun the path of violence. He had also promised to help them with jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. But according to Raina, the militants “can never be given any jobs” and under “PM Modi’s government there can never be any rehabilitation for terrorists in this country”.

What Raina has said is a reiteration of the BJP’s position on the issue. At the same time, the LG is an appointee of the PM Modi led government at the centre and his actions and utterances are supposed to be a reflection of the policies of the central government. And here the LG was making an effort to reach out to militants. And which is important considering militancy has shown no signs of abating over a year after withdrawal of Article 370 that was expected to drastically reduce the violence in the Valley. But the reality is opposite of this. There has been little impact on the militancy. The local youth continue to pick up arms. So far 185 militants and around 50 security personnel have been killed during this year.

The steep rise in killings over the last month reflects the growing success of security forces in tracking down militants, a turn of events that is seen as the direct result of the easier availability of human and tech intelligence. It also underlines troop concentration in South Kashmir. For a while in the first half of this year, the frequent killings of the militants had given an impression that there will be a substantial decrease in their number. But such expectations of security agencies have been belied. Militancy is very much alive and kicking. And as the history of the past three decades proves, while the number of militants has occasionally declined, it hasn’t reduced the challenge of militancy. And that too, when the Valley had no more than hundred militants (2012-13) and South Kashmir which now boasts of around 110 militants had just 15 of them.

One reason for this is the overwhelming public support that the militancy enjoys in the region. And no magic bullet will reduce this support. It will need a sustained political engagement to address the issues that fuel the militancy in the region. And the LG Sinha’s offer of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunity is only a small first step in this direction.

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