Sense of desperation: Why are terrorists choosing soft targets in Jammu and Kashmir
New Delhi, July 30: There have been a spate of killings in Jammu and Kashmir and if one were to see the trend, the terrorists are attacking soft targets. There has been a sustained effort to create a fear in the minds of the people ever since the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K.
The National Investigation Agency in its latest report had said that the killing of the Parihar brothers was a clear attempt to revive terrorism in the Chenab Valley. While the forces have attained a great deal of success in neutralising terrorists, attempts are still on to revive terror on a much larger scale in the Union Territory.
Earlier this week, Sheikh Meeran was shot dead in the Nawakadal area of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. The police are investigating all angles, but prima facie say that this incident was a result of a gang war.
Prior to this there was an incident in which terrorists shot dead the son of Krishna Dhaba owner.
Ramesh's son Akhash Mehra was shot at by terrorists and he later succumbed to injuries. The police arrested three persons associated with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The Muslim Janbaz Force which was active in the Valley in the 1990s claimed responsibility for the attack.
There are many questions that arise while looking at these attacks closely. Is it an arms crunch and the lack of resources that has made these terrorists strike at soft targets. Is it just the beginning of something big? Has Pakistan instructed its terrorists to go for soft targets to give an impression that they are down.
Abhinav Pandya, a Cornell University graduate in public affairs and a policy analyst specialising in counterterrorism, Indian foreign policy and Afghanistan-Pakistan geopolitics tells OneIndia that for now it appears to be just optics.
Pandya who has also written for the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), a premier think tank of India in national security says that there is an attempt to create panic and fear in the minds of the people. Following the abrogation of Article 370 there is a nationalistic trend in Jammu and Kashmir. It could also be seen as an attempt to create fear in the minds of those who are raising pro-India voices, he also says.
Pandya also goes on to add that this is also an attempt to keep the Indian soil on the boil. However, I would not rule out a larger game by the Pakistan backed terrorists, he also says.
Officials tracking Jammu and Kashmir say that it cannot be ruled out that the motive behind these killings is to stay relevant. There have been attempts to bring in arms and ammunition, but these attempts have been foiled. Hence we see terrorists moving from AK-47s to pistols.
The National Investigation Agency following the arrest of a key conspirator in the Parihar brothers killing at Kishtwar said that further investigation in the case led to the unearthing of a larger conspiracy. The motive was to revive terrorism in the Chenab Valley.
These incidents could also be linked to the significant drop in the number of terror incidents in the Jammu and Kashmir. In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said, "the number of terrorist incidents has reduced during 2020 by 59 per cent as compared to 2019 and 32 per cent up to June, 2021 in comparison with the corresponding period up to June, 2020."
"The government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and has taken various measures such as strengthening of security apparatus, strict enforcement of law against anti-national elements, intensified cordon-and-search operations to effectively deal with the challenges posed by the terrorist organisations," the minister also said.