It has been a year since the Indian forces in a very successful operation gunned down Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, Burhan Wani in Kashmir. A lot has changed in the Valley since then.
While many in the media attributed the uprising in the Valley to the death of Wani, the fact of the matter is that this was something that was planned six months in advance and his death only became a trigger.
It would not be wrong to say that the security forces were caught on the backfoot at first. The Valley erupted and this was largely due to the poor manner in which the announcement of Wani's death was handled. Many said that the death was declared before the state could get the security arrangements in place.
The stone pelters came out in large numbers and all the Kashmir separatists who in reality do not see eye to eye stood united and they had plenty to gain. The death of Wani saw many youth in Kashmir joining the ranks of the Hizbul.
Wani in fact had created a scenario where taking up guns had become a fashion statement. He was more of a social media terrorist who shot more selfies than bullets.
There was a lot of talk that the government should engage with the separatists. While the government came under plenty of criticism, the thinking in South block was something different. Said a senior official in the Prime Minister's office, " they do not want to speak within the ambit of the Constitution. How can a democratically elected government speak on such a condition?"
Increasingly as the violence grew, the government took a tougher stance in the Valley. " Let them pelt stones, let us not get bogged down. They will tire out. Appeasement is not the way to go," became the motto of the government. To put it simply, it was the Ajit Doval doctrine that was in force.
After General Bipin Rawat took over as the Chief of the Army, the scenario changed dramatically. The government decided to give the Army a free hand in the Valley and the results are there to be seen. 92 militants gunned down in the past six months.
The Kashmir battle is not over as yet and the Army has given a six month deadline to bring the Valley back to normal. The war today is being fought against both bullets and ideology. Both will be finished in good time says the government.
There would be attempts no doubt to fuel the violence further. A batch of 200 militants are currently being trained in Gilgit-Baltistan to launch a fresh offensive. Is the government ready? Bring it on say the security forces.