Shifting Dynamics of Terrorism in Kashmir – Circa 2019 | Security Risks Asia Made with Humane Club

Shifting Dynamics of Terrorism in Kashmir – Circa 2019

Published Jun 14, 2019
Updated Apr 13, 2020

This creates an impression that the situation is turning in favour of one or the other side, however for the insurgents in India the lesson of fighting a massive and well-endowed state – politically, economically and security should be clear – a no-win situation. 

Clearly, no insurgency has succeeded in modern times against a strong and well-prepared state despite wide support of the population.

These lessons are clear across the board from Myanmar to North East India to Left Wing Extremism in Central India and are as much applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.

The insurgency and terrorism campaign in the State is entering the fourth decade having commenced in 1989.

There have been many ebbs and flow in these turbulent times. Insurgency transited to terrorism and now again seems to have assumed somewhat hybrid form. 

The key factor sustaining the transitions from stability to partial anarchy is lack of effective will for a political resolution.

A National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government with a thumping majority and a strong leader as Prime Minister Narendra Modi provides such a moment, however there are no indications of a decision in this direction, thus conflict management will remain the main trend in the months ahead.

The changed dynamics of terrorism in Kashmir thus needs to be underlined.

Two trends are visible – shift to suicide attacks and fillip to lesser-known militant groups as Al Umar Mujahideen.

With security forces having achieved unprecedented success in neutralizing over 100 terrorists in the first five months of the year including a number of members of the Jaish e Mohammad (JeM) the group that was responsible for the Pulwama suicide attack on the bus of the  Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) there is a general dominance of the security forces in the Valley.

Facing shortage of well trained terrorists and leaders the insurgents are shifting to suicide terrorist attacks .

The aim is to cause heavy casualties to security forces and keep the insurgency alive at least in the public eye.

Replicating Pulwama is the final objective.

Suicide attacks require less numbers but highly trained and motivated youth who can carry out such strikes either using suicide vests or a combination of assault and bomb attacks thus proving to be more lethal. 

Security pickets are vulnerable to such attacks given that maintaining a 24/7 vigil is virtually impossible while exposure to a terror threat is enormous in the populated environment in the Valley.

Also Read Strong Majority & Leadership – Opportunity for Conflict Resolution in India

This was evident as five CRPF police were killed in a terrorist attack on 12 June along Khanbal-KP road, which is also the main route for the Amarnath Yatra commencing on 01 July.

This was the second suicide attack after the Pulwama incident with an earlier one using a vehicle having failed in the Banihal area, south of Pir Panjal.

This assumes importance with the coming of the Amarnath Yatra wherein large number of tourists from across India will be visiting the Valley, the opportunity for suicide attacks will increase.

The second trend is giving prominence to relatively obscure groups.

Al-Umar Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack on 14 June, though it is believed that the Jaish e Mohammad or the Lashkar E Taiyyaba could also be responsible for the attack.

Home Ministry officials commenting on the same is reported to have said as per the Hindustan Times, “The group is largely defunct without any following. Al-Umer Mujahideen claiming responsibility for the attack as against the JeM gives Pakistan deniability”.

A  tele-statement was issued by the group to local agency GNS claiming the attack on 14 June.

Al – Umar Mujahideen is raised by Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar. He has been given prominence being one of three militants released by India in 1999 in exchange for passengers of a hijacked Indian Airlines flight as per Rediff.com

The shift from one group to another has been standard practice by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) which has been shifting support from one to another outfit based on the level of pressure by India and the international community.,

With Jaish e Mohammad and Lashkar E Taiyyaba on the international radar, bringing Al Umar Mujahideen or other fringe group to the mainstream was on the cards and the option has been exercised.

So more attacks attributable to such subsidiary groups can be anticipated in the Valley.

Thus counter tactics to prevent the same will have to be adopted on priority if security forces want to retain the initiative. 

Governor Satya Pal Malik’s Advisor on security affairs K Vijay Kumar has indicated that the security leadership is aware to the threat and said, “We will keep past attacks in mind and also whatever happened yesterday. This all will be part of our overall planning for the upcoming Amarnath Yatra.”

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