On March 10, a Pakistani terrorist was killed in a brief shoot-out outside the Dhobi Ghat gate of the revered Hazratbal shrine. The intelligence agencies are yet to ascertain whether the Pakistani terrorist and his local accomplices were planning to repeat the 1993 hostage drama by JKLF terrorists when they barged into the holy shrine and refused to come out for many days. There are contrasting reports about the recent incident. One intelligence agency believes that the Pakistani terrorist and two OGWs were there to snatch the rifles of the cops deputed on the spot. The promptness of the security guard who was called by the militants to come out averted the tragedy.
Efforts are on to nab the two OGWs who escaped from the spot. The picture shall be clear after they are arrested. Police say the youth have been identified and shall soon be behind bars. The question is – Why should a Pakistani terrorist walk on the busy lane along with the Hazratbal shrine for rifle snatching? If snatching a weapon from a policeman was their sole intention, the trio could have chosen a more convenient spot.
Why The terrorists Want to Grab Headlines
To ascertain the truth about this incident, we must understand the dynamics of a terrorist operation. Terrorists strike mainly for creating a buzz. It has been their consistent strategy to mark their presence in such a way that they are able to grab headlines. Publicity gives them the boost they need. Going after soft targets is also part of the Pakistan strategy for Kashmir. It wants to instill constant fear among people. But incidents like taking control of revered religious places, killing or kidnapping a high-profile person with a huge following are meant to attract the attention of the people and be in the news for some time. In this particular case, we have no clarity yet. Were the militants up to something huge? Did they plan to occupy the shrine by barring its doors and not allowing anybody to come out or go inside?
Sequence of Events
The sequence of events is like this: There are always some police officials in a civil dress who keep a watch on suspicious objects and persons. On March 10, a policeman in plain clothes observed the suspicious presence of three boys outside the Hazratbal shrine. They had been sitting in a shop facing the shrine for long. The policeman, who was armed with an AK 47, asked the boys to leave. The two local boys silently started walking out. The third, a Pakistani terrorist, refused to leave. When the policeman insisted that he must leave, the Pakistani terrorist removed a pistol from his bag. Before he could open fire, the vigilant police officer responded quickly and shot him dead. The two local boys ran towards the shrine in fear. On seeing them running inside the shrine, the officer in charge ordered his men not to open fire. The boys took advantage of the restraint observed by the security forces deployed there. They ran away from the opposite side where they jumped in an auto and disappeared from the scene.
CONSTANT VIGILANCE ESSENTIAL
What would have been the scenario if the Pakistani terrorist would have escaped? According to some police officers, if he had managed to escape, the chances of a hostage drama was high. He would have certainly entered the shrine and held the devotee’s hostage. Even if this had not have been planned, he would have instantly opted for it. Pakistani terrorists are trained to create situations which can immediately impact the discourse. The Pakistani terrorist was killed outside the Hazratbal shrine. It is understood that the security forces shall have to keep an eagle’s eye on movements at strategic places in order to avert any potential tragedies.