Srinagar, Oct 22: Security forces are undertaking a mammoth clean up act in Jammu and Kashmir. Scores of arrests have been carried out and many have been booked under the Public Safety Act.
"Militants and separatists preparing for a long haul in winter need to be stopped at any cost," says an officer associated with the operation.
Apart from carrying out counter-insurgency operations, the police and the army are carrying out search operations which has resulted in the arrest of nearly 5,000 people. Out of this, the police have placed at least 450 of them under the Public Safety Act.
The separatists of the Valley have become relatively quiet today and that is due to this massive crackdown.
The security forces who have carried out the search operations have not returned empty handed. In the 700-odd houses that have been searched, the police have found incriminating material which suggest that the separatists were planning a longer haul in the Valley.
An officer part of the operation says that the problem is two fold. "On one hand, we are dealing with the infiltrators and on the other, the locals who want to keep the Valley on the boil. By the time winter sets in we want the clean up to happen. Life will resume to normal," the officer says.
The clean up act has not gone down too well with the militants. The Lashkar-e-Taiba has issued threats and the Hizbul Mujahideen released videos."These are desperate measures and they are trying to provoke people to keep the Valley on the boil," intelligence bureau officials say.
Had this crack down not taken place, then the situation would have only worsened. The government has decided that it does not want to talk to separatists. It is clear that none of them want the situation to come under control.
During the search operations that were conducted, security forces found petrol bombs, Chinese and Pakistani flags, LeT and JeM letterhead pads, unauthorised mobile phones and seditious anti-national publicity material.
Regarding the crackdown, the police say many are preventive arrests. However, there are a good number of people who have been placed under the Public Safety Act. "This is extremely important at this juncture since there is a desperate need for calm to return to the Valley," the officer also add.
Security agencies have also compiled a list of stone pelters and trouble makers. Orders from the top is to spare no one and to put them behind bars. "Thanks to these protests, the clashes have come down. However, search operations lasting upto 12-hours a day will continue until complete normalcy is restored," police officials also say.
The entire operation seems to be based on the Doval doctrine. National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval had said, "Don't overreact, it will pass off as they cannot sustain."
The NSA believes that the biggest problem is that of appeasement. He says that the protests are not due to an uprising by civil society. He had indicated that this was manufactured by those sponsored by Pakistan, thus broadly indicating that talks with such persons would never help.