There has been a major offensive in Kashmir and in the past two months, several terrorists have been killed. The offensive came at a time when the Centre's interlocutor has been trying to negotiate in the Valley in a bid to restore peace.
Questions have been asked if this exercise is proving to be counter-productive in the wake of so many encounters taking place. However, the trigger for this offensive by the forces was thanks to a large number of recruitments that have been taking place into terror groups.
The Hizbul Mujahideen, in particular, has upped the ante and has been on a recruiting spree. In fact, an Intelligence report points towards the recruitment of nearly 50 youth into the Hizbul Mujahideen in the Baramulla area of Kashmir.
The Intelligence has identified, both Baramulla and Shopian as trouble spots. A large number of terrorists have been found in these areas and hence the Army's counter-offensive became extremely important, an Intelligence Bureau official said.
Further, the Jaish-e-Mohammad which is backing the Hizbul Mujahideen has openly said that it would avenge the death of terrorists. In a statement, the Jaish spokesperson said that they would avenge every drop of blood of Kashmiri people and this jihad will continue till the mission of freedom is achieved. Hizbul Mujahideen should not feel alone, the Jaish Fidayeen are with them. We will together avenge the Indian oppression, the Jaish further said.
Another cause for concern is that Ramadan is approaching. Normally terrorists tend to up the ante at this time and cool off during the Holy month. This is another reason behind the sudden aggression by terrorists.
Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that these operations are important. The terrorists had begun to once again raise their ugly head in the Valley. The terrorists killed in the encounters were locals and they were planning to create another unrest in the Valley.
The Hizbul Mujahideen has been under immense pressure since the past couple of months. There were even reports that its chief Sayed Salahuddin was asked to step down as the group was under-performing in the Valley. The Hizbul Mujahideen, in fact, was asked to step up the heat in the Valley in a bid to give the foreign terrorist groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayiba a break.
Informed sources said that these operations were aimed at breaking the back of the Hizbul Mujahideen. The very fact that top commanders of the outfit such as Rouf Khandey were killed speaks volumes about the operation.
Such encounters are likely to continue for several months more. Intelligence reports estimate the presence of 215 terrorists in the Valley. While on one hand, Pakistan would attempt to push more terrorists through the Line of Control and International Border, the locals too have been asked to step up operations. Operations in the days to come would look to target the local terrorists who have refused to surrender or give up arms, the source also added.