Jammu and Kashmir witnessed no thaw in the militant activities, killings, fresh recruitments and infiltration attempts even after the September 29, 2016 surgical strike claim across the line of control (LOC) of the central government.
On 29 September, 2016 i.e. eleven days after the Uri attack, the Indian army said it had conducted surgical strikes against suspected militants in Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said that it had received very credible and specific information about terrorist teams who were preparing to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states.
Though Army did not talk about the casualty figure but media reported the casualty figures variously from 35 to 50. The surgical strikes seemingly had no impact since the Ministry of Home Affairs has stated that there were 200 terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir from August 15, 2016 to until now. 12 civilians were killed in these incidents while 24 were injured. 53 security personnel lost their lives in these incidents while 131 were injured. There were 798 law and order incidents with 508 in the month of September 2016 only in which the ‘surgical strike’ took place.
To be more precise, 87 terror incidents took place between October 2016 and December 2016 i.e there were 87 terror incidents within 3 months only while the state had witnessed 235 incidents between January 2016 and September 2016. Against the average 26 incidents taking place every month in Jammu and Kashmir upto September 2016, the frequency increased to 29 per month after the September 29 surgical strikes on alleged militant launching pads.
Not only this, the number of infiltration attempts increased from 121 in the year 2015 to 371 in the year 2016. This is almost three times the attempts made by the militants to infiltrate across the LOC in the year 2015. And this is second highest since the 489 infiltration attempts which were reported in the year 2010. In these infiltration attempts, MHA maintains that 35 infiltrators were killed while 217 returned back to the launching pads. Only 3 were apprehended.
MHA accepts that around 119 militants sneaked through. More worrying is the fact that the number of youngsters joining militancy have increased. Against 16 youngsters who joined militant ranks in 2013, 88 joined the militant ranks in the year 2016. Against 167 youngsters who joined militancy between 2009 and 2014 during the NC-Congress coalition government; 154 left their homes to join militant ranks in the last two years of the PDP-BJP coalition government.
There was visible thaw in youngsters joining militant ranks between 2011 and 2013 with just 60 odd youngsters choosing to pick up guns. A Parliamentary Panel on Home Affairs has expressed serious concern over this disturbing trend. It has said that it is aware of the disturbing trend of recruitment and training of local youth by the militants. It has accepted there has been a rise in the number of law & order incidents, particularly incidents of stone pelting which seems to have become a regular feature in some parts of Kashmir.
It has further said that numerous incidents of picketing of police stations and snatching of rifles from police and Para-military personnel point towards local sourcing of arms. The Panel has stressed that that there is a sinister and complex connection between the simultaneous rise in stone pelting incidents and Fidayeen attacks on the establishments of security forces. While the law and order incidents have kept the security forces busy, panel has said that the militants meanwhile have found time to reorganize themselves and perpetrate terrorist attacks on the forces.
Syed Junaid Hashmi is a Jammu based journalist