Fidayeen attacks are increasing, Is there a shift in Kashmir militancy?

Fidayeen attacks are increasing, Is there a shift in Kashmir militancy?
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Kashmir: A day after Gandhi Jayanti was observed across India, three fidayeen of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant outfit’s ‘Afzal Guru Squad’ attacked a Border Security Force (BSF) camp close to the Srinagar airport.

The pre-dawn strike breached multiple layers of security at the BSF’s 182 Battalion. The suicide squad fired indiscriminately and lobbed grenades while entering the fortified camp, police sources said.

After all three were killed by Tuesday afternoon, Inspector-General of Jammu and Kashmir Police (Kashmir Range) Muneer Khan made a candid admission: “such attacks will keep on happening. As long as Pakistan is our neighbour and as long as militancy is there, these things will go on.”

At least one BSF trooper was killed and three injured. “No doubt JeM is a threat, because it believes in carrying out surprise fidayeen attacks on security installations. We will have to deal with this group separately,” Khan said.

Members of the ‘Afzal Guru Squad’ had attacked a district police lines (DPL) in south Kashmir in August in a similar style. After a 15-hour-long gun battle inside DPL Pulwama at least 10 were killed, including four police personnel, four paramilitary personnel and two militants.

The police believe that the attackers (10-15 fidayeen) were part of the same group that infiltrated into the Valley this August. These fidayeen-style attacks suggest there might be a shift in militancy in the Kashmir Valley.

This can be because of the huge damage inflicted on militant groups after security forces launched the much-publicised Operation All-Out in April, police sources said.

More than 150 militants, mostly local recruits, were killed in the first eight months this year. They included at least nine top commanders of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) – the largest militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and
Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind. Most of them were put in the ‘A’, ‘A ‘ and ‘A ‘ categories. Each carried a bounty of more than Rs 10 lakh.

Among those killed since March were: Abu Ismael, Abu Dujana, Bashir Lashkari, Ayub Lelhari and Junaid Matoo of Lashkar, and Yasin Itoo alias Ghaznavi and Sabzar Bhat of Hizb.

Militant commander Zakir Musa claimed Dujana had joined his Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, which declared allegiance to al-Qaeda a few months ago.

The spike in militancy-related incidents may be because “they (militants) want to telegraph a message that they can strike at will in any part of the Kashmir Valley,” a highly placed police source said.

While south Kashmir is considered a bastion of new-age militancy, there are credible reports about militants establishing a strong network in north Kashmir’s Bandipore district. About 20-25 foreign militants are hiding in north Kashmir, according to police intelligence sources.

Only last week, militants bearing allegiance to LeT killed Muhammad Ramzaan, a BSF constable, inside his house in Hajin, Bandipore.

It was assumed that Pakistan was content with Burhan-type low-intensity indigenous armed rebellion in Kashmir. But the presence of well-trained Pakistani militants in south and north Kashmir could mean more fidayeen-style attacks in different parts of the restive region.

After New Delhi claimed it carried out surgical strikes along the Line of Control (LoC), at least 80 security personnel, including 60 this year, have been killed in militant attacks or ceasefire violations. At least 180 militants (up from 24 the previous year) have also been killed in the Valley during the period.

For the state police, 2017 has been the bloodiest — it lost over 25 personnel to various militant attacks. Last year, on September 18, an Indian Army base close to the LoC in Uri, was also atcked by a fidayeen attackers. At least 19 Army personnel were killed.

Is political deadlock in Kashmir a reason behind the rise in the daredevil militant attacks on government forces installations? Has the policy of having no talks with the pro-independence All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) worked? Is Operation All-Out proving counter-productive? Is there an urgent need for initiating a dialogue to end violence from all sides?

courtesy: catch news