Challenge of Militancy

DIRECTOR General of Police Dilbag Singh on Monday said a “strategically planned” final assault is required to eradicate the militancy from the Union Territory. Chairing a crime review meeting at the police headquarters in Jammu, the DGP said the security forces have put in more efforts to consolidate peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir. He directed officers to increase the area domination exercise, particularly in border areas, to restrict infiltration.  He also stressed all-out efforts to neutralize the terror ecosystem which, according to him, is providing oxygen to the militancy and prompting youth to take up arms. Earlier, the DGP in a statement had voiced concern that the militancy in the Valley is tending to become faceless.

Though security forces have killed over 500 militants since the revocation of Article 370 in August 2019, the militancy continues to pose a formidable challenge.  The militants have struck recurrently to announce their presence. The predominant targets of their attacks in the last two years have been civilians including those belonging to minorities.

As many as 118 civilians, including 21 Hindus, among them five Kashmiri Pandits, have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370, the Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai recently told parliament.  The minister, however, informed the House that there has been a substantial decline in the militancy-related violence in the last three years.

And it is true. The militant activities have come down substantially. The objective of the ongoing counter-insurgency campaign has been to eliminate militancy by attempting to kill all the militants within a specific timeframe. Viewed from that perspective, the security agencies have been exceptionally successful following the withdrawal of Article 370 in August 2019. It is expected that the killings of the militants at this rate could drastically reduce their number. This, in turn, is expected to alter the political dynamics in the Valley and usher in peace. However, whether this would address the deeper factors underpinning the current state of affairs is impossible to predict. More so, when the current uncertainty goes back three decades. The militancy has gone through its crests and troughs but has never been wiped out. One can’t, however, deny the fact that an uneasy peace has by and large held after the abrogation of Article 370.

What does the near future, therefore, hold for Kashmir? Many a security expert hope that the continuing successful anti-militancy operations would substantially reign in the militancy. It, however, remains to be seen whether the contemplated final assault on the militancy would deliver results. The coming weeks and months would be crucial on this score.

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