Targeted killings on the rise, minorities waiting for a tough government response
With the change of guard in Pakistan, even the terrorist handlers in Kashmir valley have adopted a new strategy of targeting vulnerable public representatives, off-duty security personnel, and members belonging to the minority community to spread panic in the region.
It is not the first time these people have come on the radar of the terrorist commanders active in Kashmir but the manner in which these killings started coincided with the increasing tourist traffic to the Kashmir valley raises many question marks.
The terrorist handlers, after losing many of their top commanders in anti-terrorist operations, were desperate to hit back and register their presence in the region. A sudden decline in the fresh recruitment and near-zero infiltration from across the Line of Control prompted them to adopt a new strategy.
The terrorist handlers chose to hit back at a time when the Union Territory Administration was already busy projecting peaceful environs in the region while attracting huge investments.
By indulging in mindless violence the terrorist commanders have already created a fear psychosis in the minds of the minority population in the valley and raised genuine security concerns ahead of the start of the 43-day-long Amarnath pilgrimage. Incidents of terrorist violence have been reported from 7 out of 10 districts of the Kashmir valley in recent days.
Union Home Secretary reviewed the security situation in the valley
The recent targeted killings necessitated a fresh security review at the highest level so that adequate measures can be taken to ensure incident-free yatra and instill a sense of security among the minority population and tourists visiting Kashmir valley to enjoy the cool climes.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla along with Intelligence Bureau Chief Arvind Kumar chaired a high-level security review meeting with the senior army, police, and paramilitary officers ahead of beefing up security in the region. During the meeting, the Union Home Secretary learned to have stressed keeping a close watch on suspects and directed the security officials to speed up the anti-terrorist operations ahead of the pilgrimage. He hailed the synergy between various security agencies which has led to successes against the militancy in Kashmir.
To beef up the security in the region during the yatra period the UT administration had projected demand for deploying 40,000 additional para-military troops.
Terrorist strategy and modus operandi remain the same
In the absence of battle-hardened trained guerillas, these terrorist commanders are relying more and more on the ‘hybrid‘ terrorists to confuse security personnel on the ground. In most cases, these hybrid terrorists resort to killings using a pistol from a close range.
In all these cases unidentified terrorists targeted personnel when they were all alone and engaged in some household work or standing outside their homes during evening hours.
These hybrid terrorists also rely on motorbikes for commuting and vanish from the scene of crime taking advantage of the prevailing chaos and confusion. To track down their footprints the local authorities have now directed the shopkeepers and owners of other business establishments to install CCTV cameras by April 19 failing which they will be penalized.
In the last 12 days, seven attacks have been reported from the central, north, and south Kashmir districts of Kashmir valley. All these nonlocal laborers, security personnel, and members of the minority community living in the valley have come on the radar of the terrorists.
Situation in Kashmir valley is returning to the 1990s: KPSS
Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) has strongly condemned the issuance of threat letters and the killing of Kashmiri Pandits/ Kashmiri Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley. KPSS had already said that the situation in Kashmir valley is returning to 1990. In 1990, killings lists were circulated in mosques and in 2022 these lists are circulated on the internet and social media, just modus operandi has changed but the mentality is the same as what we minorities faced in the early 1990s.
Some vicious and ill-minded persons who are using the cover of a particular religion are hell-bent on the annihilation of the religious minorities living in the Kashmir valley. As these kinds of heinous and barbaric acts are not possible without logistic support from the local population and the role of the Kashmiri society, though small in number, cannot be outrightly absolved for the targeted crimes happening against Kashmiri Pandits/ Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir valley. Every gunman known or unknown is a local person and their helping OGWs are also from our own Kashmiri society who create fake trust with religious minorities to collect details and help these gunmen to kill Kashmiri Pandits/ Kashmiri Hindus living in the Kashmir valley.
In 1990, religious minorities were backstabbed and forced to leave Kashmir valley by creating a hostile environment, time and again similar conditions were created in 2022 to force Kashmiri Pandits/ Kashmiri Hindus to leave Kashmir valley. Though these persons were always small in number, the collective silence maintained by the rest creates trust deficits with never-ending voids between the communities.
KPSS appeal to all members of Kashmiri society to come clean on the issue and respond with an honest answer, whether they actually want the Kashmiri Pandits/ Kashmiri Hindus who continued to live in Kashmir valley during all these odd years to live in Kashmir valley or not, as the logistic support provided to these killers of humanity is provided by the locals only.
Another organization of the Kashmiri Pandits Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD) has expressed its deep anguish at the condition of community members living in the valley in the prevailing atmosphere of fear and insecurity.
In the statement, GKPD has said,” While our community was driven out from the valley steadily from 1986 in trickles, the flood of exodus peaked in 1989 to 1990. However, less than 1000 families decided to stay by placing their trust in the local community. These families have turned out to be “children of lesser God”. They have been denied all rights, which are due to an Indian. Shunned by every government in the last 32 years they have continued to live a miserable life. The recent attack on such a person, who was incidentally providing health care services, clearly demonstrates that our community continues to live at the whims and fancies of the radical elements in the valley. To compound the misery our PM Package employees, who are posted all over the valley as per a mistaken policy decision of the Government of India, have received a letter threatening them to face death if they do not leave the valley immediately. The question that begs to ask is what the wisdom behind this policy was of employing our community youth under the PM Package and then posting them all over the valley without providing them a safe working environment. Their misery is further compounded by forcing them to sign an undertaking that their posting will always remain in the valley and cannot be transferred. This is a draconian rule, which does not exist anywhere in India. The sadistic pleasure drawn by the local administration by denying them equal rights as J&K Government employees by refusing them full pay and promotion avenues is a clear testimony of the silent oppression against our community.
GKPD appreciates the policy being followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to root out terrorism and nepotism from the UT of J&K and our community is ready to lend all its might to make it a success. GKPD requests the government:
- To announce a comprehensive package for the Kashmiri Pandits still living in the valley. The package should have constitutional guarantees to provide security and honorable life.
- To create a sense of security for PM Package employees while redressing the draconian rules in their rules of employment. Zero tolerance should be the governing criterion for both demands.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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