New Delhi: Barely two days after three people including a businessman Makhan Lal Bindroo were killed in Srinagar, terrorists attacked a school in the Eidgah area of Srinagar and killed its principal and a teacher after checking the identity cards of all staff and ensuring that those were the two from the minority community. Five cowardly killings in a span of less than 48 hours have triggered another debate over the changing modus-operandi of terrorists in Kashmir Valley. This kind of terrorist behaviour is not new. Ever since the abrogation of Article 370 and start of “Operation All Out”, remarkable changes have been seen in the terror activities. Firstly, due to the increased crackdown on the terror sympathisers and financers, new recruitments were affected. Secondly, since strict online vigil and a three-tier security deployment is maintained, availability of arms and ammunition to terrorists was reduced and thirdly, that due to their utter desperation, terror groups started targeting soft targets like political leaders, soldiers on leave and social leaders in utter frustration.
There were many events in the last few months which prompted terror perpetrators sitting across our western border to think of a new strategy to revive terrorism. Lal Chowk of Srinagar where even hoisting our National Flag was not possible, Janmashtami processions were taken out after almost three decades. A significant number of Kashmiri Pandits started returning back to their native places and Srinagar was comparatively peaceful than the previous years. The peaceful co-existence between both the communities was being established so it was natural for terrorists sitting across to get worried so they instructed their puppets in Kashmir Valley to launch targeted attacks on Hindu community so that a communal rift and an atmosphere of fear can be created among the residents. Here are the key points of Pakistan’s new terror strategy:
Avoid direct confrontation with the security forces
Indian Army has adopted a new strategy due to which a large number of terror commanders have been killed in the last few years. Anyone who is appointed as a commander in terror ranks is tracked using various means and targeted using multiple approaches. Due to this number of active terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir has reduced drastically which prompted Pakistan to issue new instructions to the terrorists – Avoid direct confrontation with the security forces. Terror attacks in the last few years clearly resonate with this strategy.
Recruit young boys and brainwash them first before giving military training –
Pakistan observed that anyone who is publicised as a terrorist, either at the time of joining or at the time of giving him an appointment in a terror group, is killed in no time primarily because Indian Security Forces track them down easily. So, they resorted to recruiting non-descript young boys and brainwashing them before sending on any such task. During some of the encounters in the past few months, it was observed that the slain terrorist was not on the list of security forces and was recruited silently contrary to the earlier practice where an announcement used to be made by the terror group glorifying new recruitment.
Use them to kill soft targets –
As mentioned earlier, since these young boys are inexperienced and novice, they are used to kill unarmed, unprotected soft targets like people of minority community, small time politicians and community leaders. The overground workers analyse the target well and when there is no threat of security forces in the vicinity, they strike. Not only this, but they also resort to Shoot and Scoot strategy which means strike the target and run away. In most of these cases, escape routes are planned well in advance and overground workers and sympathisers of terror groups help in the same. Due to this, while there is no significant threat of getting killed in retaliation as these soft targets are not well protected, the identity of the killer remains secret, and an atmosphere of terror grows significantly.
Use of handheld arms/ grenades –
In almost all attacks in Jammu and Kashmir during this year, terrorists used pistols and grenades to kill security forces or soft targets. These weapons can be easily hidden and carried to the site of action without getting noticed. Further, it is easy to escape using these weapons which makes the detection and identification of the perpetrator difficult. A very large portion of all seized weapon caches on LOC/ International Border was made up of pistols and grenades which signifies the theory that there is a change in Pakistani strategy and terrorists are changing their way of working.
Give the issue a communal rift using political leaders –
Another trend is observed during all these killings and that is the reaction by certain political leaders. They are the first one to react and they are the first one to condemn Indian government’s policies rather than targeting cross-border terrorism. At the same time, social media like Twitter gets flooded with messages floated by ISI-controlled handles who create an atmosphere of misinformation while Pakistani politicians try to internationalise the issue by making fiery statements. This clearly indicates that there is someone from across the border driving all this.
Kashmir is witnessing the return of peace once again and people have understood that terrorism and separatism cannot flourish in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the biggest pain for Pakistan who has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue over the last seven decades. By creating a communal rift, it wants to give few more days of life to the dying terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. It also wants to reinstate fear in the minds of common Kashmiri people that to get killed, one need not be an influential person. Being from a minority community is sufficient enough. However, the way things are changing on the banks of mighty Jhelum and people are participating in building a peaceful state, it is certain that the evil actions of Pakistan will fail in no time.