June 13, 2022 8:59 pm

Reigning Uncertainty

OVER a hundred militants have been killed in Kashmir over the first six months of this year, 30 of them from Pakistan. Last year a total of 171 militants were killed, out of whom 19 were Pakistanis and 152 local. In addition,  44 security personnel and 34 civilians also lost their lives. As the data makes it clear, the proportion of foreign militants has increased over the last year. And this is not a good sign from a security point of view. This is the first time in several years that the percentage of foreign militants in the Valley has increased.

Ever since the revocation of Article 370 in August 2019, Kashmir has witnessed an uneasy calm. The protests and the stone-pelting incidents have gradually tapered off. But the militancy has so far held out. That too, despite the killings of a large number of militants.

According to a police estimate, around 150 are active militants in Kashmir, the lowest such number in the last seven years. This has, for once, created a distinct possibility that the militancy could very well end in the next few months or over the course of this year if there is no replenishment of the ranks in the form of local recruitment or influx from across the border.  Also, contrary to the apprehensions, the foreign presence in the Valley’s militancy has only increasingly diminished over the years – that is, if we consider the current increase as an exception.

This has put the militancy in the union territory apparently on a shaky wicket. But it is premature and also risky to make predictions about Kashmir. In the past also, this ebb and flow have continued. As the history of the past thirty years shows militancy has gone on. And it seems unlikely to die down unless the replenishment stops, something that has never happened so far. And appears unlikely to happen in near to medium future. This is why while public unrests and stone pelting have drastically diminished since the revocation of Article 370 in August 2019, militancy has continued unabated.  And there is little sign that the situation on this score will change anytime soon.

What is more, security agencies have already warned that the violence could once again scale up further this year, with the local militancy expected to be reinforced by the influx of foreign militants – albeit, there have so far been no indications that this is happening in greater numbers. Militancy is largely led by the local youth who come from a demographic of 15 to 25 year olds. Recent killings of the civilians and the members of the minority groups have brought the situation to a head. It is difficult to see where the situation is headed in the near to medium future. However, one can only hope that the situation will improve in the end.

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