“The aim behind carrying out strikes by terrorists on high profile targets is to spread panic among locals & deter them from participating in the polls”.
Sending out a chilling reminder to the security forces about the serious implications of holding Panchayat/Urban local bodies polls at the grassroots level terrorists belonging to pro Pakistan outfits Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Wednesday carried out another bloodiest attack on security forces near fruit market in Shopian killing four state police personnel on the spot.
Shockingly, all the terrorists managed to flee without facing any resistance on the ground.
Through this attack, the terrorists clearly demonstrated their ability to strike at will and in the busiest marketplaces of South Kashmir. Huge presence of security forces in and around the area failed to deter these terrorists behind the attack.
The attack also sent shivers down the spine of local residents as these cops lay there in the pool of blood while terrorists flee away along with their weapons without facing any resistance.
Despite carrying out sustained cordon and search operations in the area the terrorists continue to maintain their supremacy over security forces in the area.
They keep posting videos and pictures of their movement and training exercises in thickly forested areas but the security forces fail to counter them or track down their movement in the thick jungles of South Kashmir.
The attack came close on the heels of three audacious strikes carried out selectively to target policemen during Eid festivities. In all these cases the policemen were caught unaware and ended up losing their lives.
The policemen, killed in Shopian, were deployed on escort duty of a senior police officer and were present in the market area in connection with some repair work of their official vehicle when terrorists targeted them by opening fire.
Shockingly, all those terrorists managed to flee without facing any resistance on the ground. The police teams later launched a massive crackdown to track down the terrorists in the area.
Earlier in the day two terrorists including one of the longest surviving terrorist, Altaf Kachroo, was gunned down by the security forces in a gunfight in Anantnag district.
Over 3 dozen police personnel have been killed since January 2018
So far over 40 security personnel, local politicians and civilians were killed by terrorists in different attacks.
The success of operation ‘all out’ of security forces has led to the killing of over 100 terrorists including several top commanders
A senior BJP leader was gunned down on Eid in Kupwara district. On Tuesday house of former state Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather was also targeted by terrorists in Budgam. Though he was not present in the house but the selection of high profile target clearly suggested the terrorist handlers are aware what impact an incident of terrorist violence would generate if carried out against a particular target.
Security experts feel, “the aim behind carrying out such strikes on high profile targets is to spread panic among the local Kashmiris and deter them from participating in the polls”.
These experts also claimed, “the terror outfits are also trying to take advantage of the volatile situation prevailing in different parts of Kashmir owing to the vitriolic debate over continuation of Article 35-A of the Indian constitution”.
Preliminary inquiries revealed the terrorists were selectively targeting only those policemen and local residents whom they suspect were involved in anti-terrorist operations conducted by the joint team of security forces.
The success of operation ‘all out’ of security forces has led to the killing of over 100 terrorists including several top commanders in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. In response, the terror outfits are also targeting vulnerable policemen on leave to spread scare among the general population.
On August 17 this year when a homemaker identified as Shamima was killed in cold blood by terrorists by pumping bullets from close range inside her home in Drabgam village of Pulwama no one raised a voice against target killing. She was suspected of sharing inputs about the whereabouts of terrorist commander Sameer Tiger.
The security of election candidates and creation of conducive atmosphere in the state would be the prime responsibility of new Governor in office.
Challenging task ahead
In the wake of series of strikes on these policemen, holding Panchayat and Urban bodies elections in the state would be a daunting task for the security forces in the state. The state government has already requisitioned over 200 companies of paramilitary forces to hold free and fair polls in the state.
The security forces are expected to share a fresh review of the security scenario before taking a final call on the conduct of these polls, pending in the state for last eight years now.
The security of election candidates and creation of conducive atmosphere in the state would be the prime responsibility of new Governor in office. On Wednesday he held detailed discussions with centers’ interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma in Srinagar and is expected to kick-start the election process by issuing the notification soon.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.