THE Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh on Tuesday said that the number of local militants has been brought down to double digits which is a big achievement for the security forces. This has taken Kashmir back to 2012-13 when the number of militants had reduced to double digits and South Kashmir which has now become the hotbed of militancy boasting no more than 15 of them. As for foreign militants, Singh said there are fewer of them left. The DGP indicated that the militancy was on its way out as the anti-militancy operations had achieved great success in recent years. Citing the example of North Kashmir, Singh said that the area which once was once badly affected by militancy is calm now. The DGP, however acknowledged, that hybrid militancy remains a challenge as so far over 100 modules of hybrid militants have been busted across J&K.
Ever since the withdrawal of J&K autonomy in August 2019, over 500 militants have been killed in the UT, most of them local youth. Though this has reduced the number of militants, the violence has continued unchanged. And over the last year, the violence has increased as militants have chosen to attack civilians, panchayat workers, J&K police personnel visiting home, outsiders and minorities instead of engaging security personnel. Security forces, as a result, now not only have to combat militancy but also protect a large section of population including many from among their own ranks.
It is, however, true that 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. They expect 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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