By Ajit Chak: The aggressive stance taken by the Indian Army has begun to weaken the Pakistan inspired terror offensive in the border state which has known turbulence after a brief period of peace a few years ago. However this turbulence and this new type of warfare was predicted much earlier by Kashmir watchers.
The same people who are watching the situation closely in Kashmir today insist that the Pakistan backers of terrorists in the state will ask them to surrender or go underground but not remain active in the face of army action today. More than fifty terrorists have been eliminated in the last few days of army action in the state.
Southern Kashmir was always neglected when it came to counter terrorism tactics but after South Kashmir saw a spike in terrorism it also saw several successes by the army. Several militants were shot dead in encounters like Burhan Wani and Junaid Mattoo, therefore it is only a matter of time that the pressure on militants operating in the area will become such that they will be forced to surrender.
This is where the military intelligence steps in. The surrender of a militant gives an opportunity to the government to convert a foe into a friend like the Ikwanis who had surrendered much earlier. The Ikwanis had become the friends of the Indian army and should have been absorbed into the TA or such regiments but unfortunately were not. However even today Army officers posted in Kashmir say their contribution was vital for the cause in the region. The situation in South Kashmir is still very sensitive though. The militants have several enemies within the community as well. After surrender their life becomes difficult and they need to be rehabilitated though special camps where they have to be de-radicalised and given skills to carry out a new life.
The militants also have booby trapped arms cache which they will abandon if they surrender and the army needs to be wary of these. However the most important task before the Kashmir government is to recognise the need to rehabilitate the surrendered militants and convert them into allies. For this skill development camps need to be set up for them and they need to be de-radicalised in their behaviour which is like the process of deaddiction. This detoxification and retraining process normally can take up to a year to two years as otherwise in the absence of livelihood the militants can slip back to the Pakistani trap. The army had for long neglected South Kashmir as the primary focus of the army was on North Kashmir where militancy was more pronounced, now with this present aggressive stance that the army is following it is likely that there will be largescale surrenders from the militants. Even their Pakistani backers will back off as they know if they ask their teams to commit suicide by attacking the Indian Army it may backfire on them. International pressure has increased at the same time on several terror outfits operating from Pakistan. Take the case of the Hizbul Mujaheddin Chief Syed Salahuddin. With Salahuddin now designated a global terrorist it was Pakistan who first cried foul and now it is Salahuddin himself who is crying foul. The reason has finally dawned upon him that he shall not be allowed to operate the HM with the impunity he used to earlier.
After being designated a global terrorist the HM chief now qualifies for a US drone strike to take him out and it may be mentioned that the USA has used this technique several times against the Taliban in the Pakistan Afghanistan border to eliminate several terror group chiefs and warlords.
The HM or the Hizbul Mujaheddin is the most active and most prominent terror group which is spreading panic and chaos in South Kashmir and creating unrest in the area. It routes funding into the state of Kashmir from Pakistan for stone pelters and for promoting Jihad. The Indian Army was forced into an aggressive mode following the lynching and cold blooded murder of a young Kashmiri Rajputana Rifle officer from the valley, but the head of the snake – Syed Salahuddin – has so far remained safe and far from harm’s way. The situation however is changing now in favour of the Indian authorities as a global terrorist can be eliminated any time by any nation.