Things no doubt are under control yet nothing can be said for sure as what would happen next on the terror front?
‘Peace is not so much a political mandate as it is a shared state of consciousness that remains elevated and intact only to the degree that those who value it volunteer their existence as living examples of the same… Peace ends with the unraveling of individual hope and the emergence of the will to worship violence as a healer of private and social disease. There are still a few in Kashmir who feel that by unleashing violence, killing innocents and indulging in firefights they can bring hope for Kashmiris. The idea itself on the face of it looks absurd and so far has proven to be nothing but an outrageous and ridiculous manifestation. Now could someone tell me as to what was the fault of Javeed Ahmed Malik the peon of a Government School from Tral, Pulwama who was gunned down? Obviously the reason could be that the murderers took him as an informer? Thus the story remains familiar’!
-Plenty of good things are happening in Jammu and Kashmir but still the thematic undercurrent remains violent as some or the other incident related to terror keeps happening. Two happened in the last couple of days. The first was that an arms supply cell was splattered apart by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the other was the drone intrusion in Kanachak (Jammu) with a payload of 5 KG IED, Yet another thing happened. If reports are to be believed the at least 40 Kashmiri youth joined various terror groups and fifty are missing in Kashmir although not a bullet was fired or a shell exploded on the LOC. So the scenario still remains the same in certain parts of the valley though the intensity is very less, every morning, I wake up with the news of bloodshed. I feel my body, desperate to know whether I’m still alive.’
It was long back, could be a decade or little more when I was sitting with a Kashmiri family who had shifted to Lucknow. A learned well to do family from the business community who dealt in the extravagant and beautiful handicrafts with children doing extremely well. Obviously over the sitting in the expansive living room the talk centered around terrorism. The lady, a very sophisticated, pleasant mannered, mother of my friend, joined in the conversation and in a very soft and soothing tone told me the following. Why does a young Muslim, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and join terror groups? In Kashmir, religion is a big source of education, and this is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched. He was not born a terrorist, and did not become a terrorist overnight. Islamic teachings played a role in weaving his ideological fabric, thread by thread, and did not allow other sources, she was referring to scientific sources to play a role. It was these teachings that distorted this terrorist, and killed his humanity; it was not [the terrorist] who distorted the religious teachings, and misunderstood them, as some ignorant people claim. When you recite to a child still in his early years the verse ‘They will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternative sides cut off,’ regardless of this verse’s interpretation, and regardless of the reasons it was conveyed, or its time, you have made the first step towards creating a great terrorist. The same can be avoided because wrong interpretations lead to wrong conclusions and that has happened in the valley and it’s a possibility that the same still would be.Islam teaches wonderful things but there are people who have misinterpreted it. Killing innocent people is not Jihad. It think she was right on the bulls eye, Islam never preaches violence. It can never.
I The change in tactics:
Now is as good a time as ever to revisit the history of the Crusades, or the sorry history of partition in Kashmir, or the woes of the Chechens and Kosovars. The bombers represent fascism with an Islamic face, and there’s no point in any euphemism about it. We are talking a lot about the covid-19 pandemic and rightly so but terrorism still remains the biggest of the modern times and trust me its going to stay. The virus which the Pak ISI has spread is not going away easily and it will keep hitting in waves as it is doing. Its back to a full fledged war and bombings in Afghanistan and here in Jammu and Kashmir things are not comfortably poised though they may look safe and sound something akin to the situation where the flames are silent, peace is violent, tears are frozen and causes for killing are chosen.
No doubt that the government has indulged in a mega way for the normalization of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir yet the fact is that the sparks of terror are still there in the Union Territory.
Though terrorism will never succeed as violent methods have never been successful anywhere on the globe but the writing is clear on the wall that peace will still take time to settle itself in Jammu and Kashmir.
Terror is surviving because the funds are coming in. So are the weapons and the ammunition.
The familiar names of terror organisations active in Kashmir, like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), are gradually being replaced by new ones like The Resistance Force (TRF), Lashkar-e-Mustafa, Ghaznavi Force and Al-Badr (though this is an old group). The new names are nothing but offshoots of the bigger names in The Jammu and Kashmir terror world.
These new terror outfits are not as well-equipped as their parent organizations and rely mainly on the arms smuggled into the Valley through various means using the over ground network. But still they can strike and they have been.
Local youth are lured into militancy in the name of jihad after being radicalized through social media platforms and venomous speeches that have the capability of brainwashing anyone and add to this the multiple effects of the drugs. The concoction is bound to be lethal.
The present generation of terrorists are locals.
With major supply routes sealed the Kashmir based terrorists to make sure that Jammu and Kashmir remains on the boil they are looking for wider avenues in the rest of India and it is Bihar that is suddenly in the limelight.
Drone drops have not been successful though they have changed the threat perception to an extent. Adequate counter measures have been taken to take care of this threat.
Incidentally Bihar, also being a major source of arms supply to Maoists active in the Red Corridor, is not able to meet the full requirement of Kashmiri terrorists.
The red corridor is the region in the eastern, central and the southern parts of India that experience considerable Naxalite–Maoist insurgency. The Naxalite group mainly consists of the armed cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). These are also areas that suffer from the greatest illiteracy, poverty and overpopulation in modern India, and span parts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, and West Bengal and eastern Uttar Pradesh states.
This is definitely now the area of interest of Pak and Kashmir based terror groups.
Many sleeper cells have been created and the terrorists are being trained for lone wolf attacks to disturb communal harmony. Though the security forces so far have done a splendid job in nullifying the over ground network of terrorists, the fact is that they are still operating.
And till they keep doing so, selective killings will continue to happen as they are doing so now.
Another couple of things are silently travelling. One is the drug cartels and the second is cyber terror. Both have intruded into the Union Territory in a big way. Though a tight vigil is being maintained, no one is certain as to what is happening where. It is only when the consignments are nabbed do we come to know as to what has happened. If that has happened it certainly means that many others too are!
Terrorism leaves nothing behind accept for gory and macabre memories. Such as some unknown writer wrote September 9/11, 2001, citizens of the U.S., besieged by terror’s sting, rose up, weeping glory, as if on eagles’ wings. and calling the angel of remembrance with candles for those who died’! Memoirs of Mumbai attacks, the devastating Pulwama episode and so many others have left behind a legacy but one thing the terrorists never learnt was none of them stayed alive to see the next day who went in for this carnage!
II. Yet again a terror syndicate decimated:
I have lost count of the fact that how many have been removed. But the other side of the coin says that more would be mushrooming. This is battle that isn’t going to end soon as we have seen ever since insurgencies and terrorism hit Indian soil. Naxtalite movement, Mizo insurgency followed by whole of North East getting engulfed, the Maoists rebellion, Punjab terrorism, Kashmir militancy so on so forth. Though each and every movement was brought under control the cinders and embers have yet to cool over. Therefore nothing is over till it is finally.
NIA busted a terror syndicate involved in supplying arms to terrorists of Jammu and Kashmir from Bihar.
Two residents of Bihar were arrested for their alleged involvement in transporting arms from Bihar and handing the same consignment to terrorists active in Jammu and Kashmir.
That was Hidayatullah Malik, the chief of Lashkar-e-Mustafa (LeM) terror organization, who was planning a major attack in Jammu city. He was arrested on February 6, 2021, in the Kunjwani area of Jammu city. The case was initially registered at Gangyal Police station, in the Jammu district on February 6 under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
NIA re-registered the case and took over the investigation in March 2021. During searches conducted, one hand grenade, 3 magazines, and 28 rounds with other incriminating material were recovered from the possession of Malik at that time.
As per the police at that time, Malik had done reconnaissance of many security installations in Jammu and Delhi in 2018 and 2019 for carrying out terror attacks. He was associated with other terror groups in the past and was involved in terror activities in Kashmir Valley. He was involved in a bank robbery in which Rs 60 lakh were looted from J&K Bank, Main Branch Shopian in November 2020.
LeM had hatched a conspiracy at the behest of proscribed terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed to carry out terrorist activities in the Jammu area to threaten India’s sovereignty, integrity, and security.
Official sources said that investigation has revealed that both the arrested accused from Bihar were co-conspirators and were involved in the transportation of two separate consignments of illegal arms/ammunition from Bihar to Mohali and Ambala. The said weapons were further transported to Malik.
Identities of two Bihar residents have been established as Mohammad Arman Ali and Mohammad Ensanullah, both residents of the Saran district of Bihar.
Mohammad Arman Ali was arrested from Bihar and was produced before the CJM Saran, Bihar, and was taken on transit remand to produce him before the NIA Special Court, Jammu. The other namely Mohammad Ehsanullah alias Guddu Ansari was arrested from Jammu.
Malik floated the terror group on the orders of JeM after working as an overground worker in the past. Malik was also a close associate of JeM commander Ashiq Nengroo who used to smuggle arms consignments into Jammu from Pakistan before he took his family and crossed the border through an underground tunnel.
Nengroo, alias ‘doctor’, is plotting terror activities at the behest of Pakistani agencies, and Malik visited Delhi on Nengroo’s directions.
III. Disturbing incidents:
The times are uneasy. I mentioned it earlier also in the piece that though everything seems good and tght yet the fact is that there is uneasiness in the environment. Something seems to be a misfit. What exactly no one knows. A strange syndrome, something like, your friends dress like your enemies, and your enemies dress like your friends prevails. In the sea of humanity moving about in UT Jammu and Kashmir no one knows as to who is who! That may seem strange but it’s a reality!
According to reports in the security establishment, at least 40 youths have joined terror ranks this year while 50 are missing in the valley.
Several of those missing are suspected to have joined terror groups but have not been included in the official count by the police and security forces as the recruitment is not established yet.
This continuing trend of recruitment was also confirmed by another arm of the defense and security establishment, which is involved in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.
There has been no ceasefire violations since 25 February, Pakistan’s support to terror elements in Kashmir continues through hawala operators and other means as it was before but the consignments may not be big.
The terror situation in Kashmir is at a stage which is under control from a security point of view given the history of the place. This is primarily because strict instructions have been given by the ISI and the Pakistani establishment to terror groups against any infiltration at LoC or big attacks that will bring a spotlight on terrorism in Kashmir.
A cornucopia of new names of terror groups have come up in the valley.
For example the infamous 313 Brigade of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen has converted into what is now known as the Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force.
The Lashkar-e-Mustafa is a front for JeM, which came into the spotlight following the Pulwama attack in 2019.
Meanwhile, the operations and recruitment for terror group Hizbul Mujahideen has declined, primarily because of tensions in its headquarters in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. One of the earliest terror groups in the region, the Hizbul Mujahideen is largely believed to be indigenous since it was formed in 1989 by Kashmiris who crossed over to PoK for arms training.
Even if there is no rise in recruitment, sources in the security establishment noted that the continued recruitment is still a cause for worry.
Things have been brought under control and there should be no doubt about that but the several have changed in the Union Territory and suddenly both Jammu and Kashmir look far more crowded than ever in history. No one knows the intention of one another and with changing times even the psyche of the people has also changed but what has not is the mindset of a certain people who are still in the old dark and deep world where killing and bloodshed overrules everything else. Listening to sane voices is not the preferred way of operating, instead extreme, fierce and radical dictates are loved and that force a brain hammered to walk out with a gun on a mission impossible! This has happened in the past and is doing so now also!