At the same time it is also pertinent to understand the reasons for individuals in Kashmir to become OGWs for the terrorists and tanzeems. Religious Radicalisation is the number one factor, whether through religious indoctrination of Kashmiris at a young age through religious teachers in mosques and madrassas or through existing OGWs in the community. Radicalisation creates a strong motivation among individuals to become OGWs by creating a false image in their mind of being “warriors and protectors of Islam.” Another major reason is the misnomer of “Azaadi” which is being spread among the gullible local youth through Pak Propaganda and social media whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp or YouTube. Apart from these, various separatist groups have conveniently exploited the sentiments of Kashmiris and misguided them to become OGWs for their own selfish gains. They use propaganda as a tool for furthering their nefarious designs. Also, some segments of media in Kashmir act in a manner that causes damage to the psyche of the “awaam”. For the sake of monetary gains, they exaggerate facts in a manner that shows the state and security forces in poor light, thus motivating sections of the society to work as OGWs.
According to a 2019 report, Srinagar District had 112 OGWs to support 11 active terrorists, while Kupwara has 528 OGWs. In Baramullah the number of OGWs stood at 41 while Budgam has 89 OGWs despite the district having only 4 active terrorists. In Shopian, the OGWs numbered at 136 while Pulwama had 163 OGWs. Looking at these figures it becomes easy to understand that it is due to this sheer number of OGWs operating in the region that terrorism continues to thrive in the valley. Amid an increasing number of encounters and deaths in the past few months, The Chinar Corps Commander put out a far thinking and encouraging message – he spoke about “breaking the cycle of violence” by preventing the recruitment of young Kashmiris for terrorism. A tweet from Chinar Corps handle quoted him as saying – “We seek to break the cycle of violence by two elements. First, creating an environment
That prevents fresh recruitment. Second, targeting the OGW network that feeds and sustains terrorism”.
In 2021 in the first six months till June, more than 100 OGWs have been arrested while in the first six months of 2020, 135 OGWs were arrested and more than 100 were identified. These figures bring to light that the security forces have made it their aim to focus on OGWs and systematic addressing of these elements is taking place continuously which is a major step in curbing terrorism to bring stability and peace in the region. To sum up everything said so far, there is definitely a need to jointly map the OGW network and anti-national elements through a multi-agency effort so that the int picture generated is in sync with the ground realities. Also, with regard to addressing these elements, the PSA (Public Safety Act) provides an ideal and potent tool to book OGWs, thus preventing them from disrupting the peace, stability and security of the region. However, due care should be taken that only hardcore OGWs are booked under this act to separate the fish from the pond.