Militancy and violence in J&K

Kashmir Times. Dated: 6/27/2019 11:37:28 AM

There is need to review the muscular policy in Kashmir which is only going round in circles and ensuring endless bloodshed

As union home minister Amit Shah visits Kashmir for the first time, it is in fitness to review the security scenario and assess the worth of the policy being pursued by New Delhi in Kashmir. It is worthwhile to examine dispassionately whether the constantly hardening muscular policy has achieved any desirable results or whether it is pushing Kashmir to go around in unending circles of violence. The success of the existing policy is mistakenly determined by the government on the basis of number of militant kills. This neither takes into account the fresh recruitments of militants that are going on besides infiltration from across the borders nor the disproportionately high casualty figures of security forces besides civilian casualties. Though statistics remain contested, going by the official figures that were revealed in the parliament by Union Home Ministry on Tuesday, while 733 militants have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir since 2016, 253 security personnel and 112 civilians have lost their lives. The figures of civilian casualties, atleast, are worryingly more and do not take into account the massive size of the injured, many of them blinded and maimed. The glaring fact is that the number of total militants has only seen a rise in the last several years. In light of absence and paucity of data, it is difficult to say whether the fresh recruitments in militant organisations had gone down in the letter half of 2018, as is often officially claimed. But recent reports have revealed the upswing in such recruitments as well as infiltration from across the borders. In terms of optics, the trend of circulation on social media of photographs and videos of young men joining militant groups which disappeared is now back. It is difficult to assess the reasons of this oscillating trend but it can be safely concluded that fresh recruitments are going on. As per official estimates, 90 new militants were recruited in the first five months of 2019.
Much more worrisome, the high casualty figures of security personnel during encounters, which had been contained to some extent in the last 7-8 months appears to have resumed as is an indication from recent encounters. There is need to review whether the strategies being applied by the security forces with focused intelligence inputs and targets have slackened or been exhausted by the militants adopting newer methods of operating. It is evident that fresh recruitments in militant organisations are going on almost routinely, though brief periods of fatigue may have slowed that trend, security force personnel are becoming a huge casualty putting a question mark on the success quotient of such operations. A rigid muscular policy in Kashmir is costing a lot in terms of loss of lives of security personnel as well as civilians. The rosy picture being sketched by the government with respect to Kashmir's security situation is not only a bit unrealistic, it completely skirts the issue of human rights, which is crucial to understand for the sake of not only human values and ethics involved in wars and armed conflicts but also to realise the crucial role that human rights violations have played in keeping the vicious cycle of violence in the constantly propelling mode. While security concerns are imperative and must be heeded, the political component of the Kashmir problem should not be ignored. This coupled with perpetuation of human rights violations of civilians, caught in the midst of the gun and violence from all sides, are some of the factors that are deepening the Kashmir conflict.



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