The attack on the Amarnath yatra was both shocking and surprising. Many in the security establishment say that the terrorist outfits had always spoken about an attack, but had stopped short of attacking the yatra.
Then what changed and why did the Lashkar-e-Tayiba go ahead with this attack at the cost of losing local support. There is a sense of desperation in this attack. While the targeting of the police officers in Kashmir were a message to the force not to provide intelligence, the yatra strike was clearly aimed at establishing the Islamic ideology in the Valley.
Two former officers of the Research and Analysis Wing say that the attack was a desperate one. Amar Bhushan a former officer with the agency says that the attack speaks volumes about the desperation. The former chief of the agency, C D Sahay says that these are a chain of events. The local police in the Valley are the backbone of any security operation and the Lashkar started out by targeting them.
Attacking the yatra was crossing all limits, Sahay also adds. A top Intelligence Bureau official tells OneIndia that the yatra is a Hindu event. The Hizbul Mujahideen would have advised the Lashkar not to cross the line. The Hizbul understands that attacking the yatra would mean inviting the ire of the locals who depend on it for their bread and butter.
However this battle in Kashmir has gone beyond all that, the IB officer says. While at first it was said that the aim was to create communal tension, now it emerges that the Lashkar wants to establish the Islamic ideology and supremacy in Kashmir.
With outfits such as the Islamic State aggressively marketing Islam and the Lashkar repeatedly being called a stooge of the ISI with no ideology, this attack is an attempt at an image makeover. The officer says that this was a brash move and will backfire. The response from the Valley to the attack showed that none were appreciative of this attack. Moreover many even rose over politics to condemn the attack. It may be the last nail in the coffin for the Lashkar, the officer further explained.