Jammu and Kashmir: The new anatomy of jihadist violence

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The recent brutal killings of civilians by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir has created outrage in the Valley and locals have taken to the streets to protest. A look at these past few terrorist incidents shows a paradigm shift that goes back to the early days of Islamic terrorism in the 1990s.

Srinagar: The recent brutal killings of civilians by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir has created outrage in the Valley and locals have taken to the streets to protest. A look at these past few terrorist incidents shows a paradigm shift that goes back to the early days of Islamic terrorism in the 1990s.

Kashmir Inspector General (IG) Vijay Kumar told ANI, “Total 28 civilians have been killed by terrorists in 2021. Out of 28, five persons are from local Hindu and Sikh communities and two persons are non-local Hindu labourers.”

The official believes that due to the large number of terrorists killed, their support infrastructure destroyed, “terrorist bosses got frustrated, changed their strategy and killed unarmed policemen, politicians, civilians from minority communities including women”. Started shooting.”

Five civilians targeted in recent terror attacks

Two teachers were killed in a terrorist attack on a government school in Srinagar’s Idgah area on Thursday. Earlier in three separate incidents, three civilians including Kashmiri Pandit businessman Makhan Lal Bindu were targeted by terrorists.

The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration on Friday called a meeting at the residence of its president Farooq Abdullah to take stock of the prevailing situation in the union territory. “These killings have created an atmosphere of fear which was not seen in Kashmir since the early 90s,” a leading daily quoted PAGD spokesperson MY Tarigami as saying.

Looking back at the early 1990s

To understand this shift of target by terrorists, one must first look back in the past.

A report by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) stated that “the violent separatist outbreak in 1989, and since then, the government’s counter-terrorism and counter-terrorism operations have incorporated strong ‘As vs Them’ narratives among Kashmiris and separated from the Indian polity.”

Another report by him states that between 1989 and 2000, 55,538 incidents of violence were recorded in Jammu and Kashmir, and of the 15,937 terrorists killed, over 3,000 were from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to available data, the period between 2014 and 2020 has seen a significant increase in local insurgency in the region. While local recruitments were restricted to double digits from 2014 to 2016, it saw a huge increase thereafter. According to reports, 126 youths joined militancy in the Valley in 2017, followed by 218 in 2019 and 167 in 2020.

Talking about the recent terror attacks in the Valley, Vijay Kumar said, “In all such cases, terrorists have been using pistols. These acts are carried out by newly recruited terrorists or people joining the ranks of terrorists. J&K Police is working hard and we are identifying all such part-time/hybrid terrorists. Strict action will be taken against them.”

abrogation of Article 370 by the Center

In an unprecedented move, the central government in 2019 abrogated Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated the region into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had said in March earlier this year, “No civilian deaths have been reported in law and order incidents in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370. The reason being, terrorists deliberately target civilians to put pressure on the security forces.”

However, ANI quoted a media report as saying that after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the number of Pakistan-based terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir has increased for the first time since the Center abrogated Article 370 in 2019.

Many terrorists who have entered Jammu and Kashmir are linked to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) groups, which are fighting in Afghanistan in conjunction with the Haqqani Network, a faction of the Taliban.

First published:October 11, 2021, 11:51 am

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