ISI Blueprint For Kashmir
Provoke Retaliatory Attacks in Mainland Against Kashmiris
Ignite Street Anger In Valley
The spurt in targeted civilian killings in Kashmir by the terrorists was anticipated. In November 2021, Pakistani spy agency ISI had prepared the blue-print for such killings. In fact, it was on the directions of ISI that a meeting of terrorist commanders of almost all proscribed organizations operating in Kashmir was convened in November 2021 in Islamabad and the blue-print was discussed. It was decided that every effort should be made to disrupt normal life in Kashmir during the summer of 2022. There was emphasis on a two-pronged offensive. One, attacks on soft targets, particularly from the minority community, non-natives and activists. Second, revival of the grenade-throwing culture to create panic in the otherwise normal streets of Kashmir.
Targeted attacks on members of the minority community and non-natives have emerged as the new security challenge for the Jammu and Kashmir administration. How do we look at the current situation? The perspectives and connotations are different for different stakeholders.
With Hybrid Militants, Security Apparatus Caught Off-Guard
Fearing for their lives, many Kashmiri Pandits working in the valley under the PM’s special package fled from Kashmir. Non-native labourers are leaving in herds after attacks on them in certain pockets of central and south Kashmir. The security apparatus seems to have been caught off-guard, given that the attacks have been carried out by hybrid militants.
As per the security agencies, all the attacks carried out since January this year have been executed by hybrid militants. This new form of militancy has posed a major challenge to the security forces. Since hybrid militants are integrated in the normal working class or among the youth, it leaves the security agencies clueless about when, where and how they choose a soft target and attack.
Hybrid militants are the operatives who are not on any terror lists but are radicalized enough to carry out a strike swiftly and resume routine life. They are not identified. What has alarmed the security forces is the number of light weapons in circulation among hybrid militants, mostly pistols.
According to one estimate, around 1300 pistols have come to valley in recent times. Drones are being used by Pakistan military to drop the weapons to this side of Line of Control (LoC). Such a huge number of pistols is worrying. It means that there are an equal or higher number of hybrid militants operating silently in Kashmir who have no criminal background.
In recent weeks, Jammu and Kashmir Police recovered around 50 pistols across the valley. According to a senior police officer, there are dozens of hybrid militants in Srinagar city alone. In South Kashmir, the situation is even more worrying.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel manning the busy streets are more vulnerable. Though at the face of it Kashmir is bustling with an unprecedented influx of tourists, fear of hybrid militants lurks. The situation has taken a sudden and violent turn for the worse.
BJP Top Brass Perturbed
Sources reveal that the BJP top brass is perturbed over the situation. Their post-abrogation iron-fist doctrine has come under severe criticism from many quarters. As per the reliable sources, Home Minister Amit Shah is anguished over the targeted attacks and has conveyed his dismay to the UT administration.
Very recently, Union Minister Jitendra Singh had claimed that Jammu and Kashmir was fast returning to normal, as the decades-long terrorism was on its last legs. The situation that has emerged speaks otherwise. Every single killing can have serious implications on the political doctrine of the BJP, particularly in the backdrop of its claim of normal Kashmir post abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Debate is going on nationwide over the “flawed” Kashmir policy of BJP. There are fears of violent retaliation against Kashmiris in the mainland. This is precisely why ISI has designed these targeted attacks on minorities. If the people in mainland respond to the targeted attacks and initiate violence against the Kashmiris, the consequences can be worrying.
Violence against Kashmiris in mainland India could re-ignite street anger in Kashmir. The ISI design to trigger fresh violence in Kashmir can occupy headlines again. It is a very peculiar situation for New Delhi, and can harm the interests of the state in many ways.
The narrative of “engineering a demographic change in Kashmir” can be damaging for the state at diplomatic level. Locally, Kashmir’s mainstream political parties are desperately trying to make political capital out of the bogey of “demographic change”.
The Positive Shift In Kashmir: Violence Has Lost Social Sanction
The current phase is particularly vexing, but not all developments in Kashmir are negative. As the wise say, change is the only constant. For a variety of reasons, Kashmir society has been witnessing a positive shift.
Violence has lost social sanction. Fatigued by violence, Kashmir has been yearning normal social life. It shall be wrong to deduce from this that Kashmiris have no grievances against the state. Even as the grievances continue, the shift has happened.
The yearn of the locals for a peaceful Kashmir is hurting Pakistan. Hence its constant machinations to keep the pot boiling. In tandem with the yearn for peace, the terror ecosystem was dealt a severe blow by a slew of measures by the state. Complacency or errors at this point will cost the state dearly and undo much of what it has achieved.
The UT administration will have to tread very sensitively. The disinformation campaign unleashed by the adversaries of the state needs to be handled carefully. Rather than creating more doubts in the minds of the vulnerable society, the administration has to be nuanced in its approach.