Jammu and Kashmir has been in a mode to challenge terrorism now for almost 35 years and during this period the fight against this menace exported from across the border and nurtured by the inimical elements has seen many shifts. There is going to be one more big change, in which the attention would be to cut the lines of communication between terror groups and the vulnerable sections of youth.
Now onwards, the focus would be on isolating the population from the atmospherics of terrorism, and this approach is aimed at decimating the sources of motivation for recruitment into the ranks of terror groups. Twin approaches have been worked out, in addition to the traditional ways that have been in vogue for the past over three decades. The first approach is to bridge the trust deficit between the security forces and the population, in which teenagers, the most vulnerable sections are made to feel safe and secure without anticipating their future with guns and bombs or thought of the same. The attempt is to change their thought process in an environment in which security forces are seen working against evil, and not against something with which they may empathize because of the separatism-induced environment or the graves that they see of the terrorists killed in security forces’ actions. The graves came up as a result of cause and effect, not in isolation. It was the youth who had picked up guns or relished the deafening noises of bombs and shrieks of the dying people.
The second part of this approach is to change the things with induction of fear in the minds of those who might be attempting to motivate and create an ecosystem of terrorism to sustain anti-national activities, violent as also in the narration. The acts of terror violence and the narration to justify them or use these to indoctrinate the youth having the same level of lethal effect. Without motivation and narration, the minds cannot be prepared for committing acts of terrorism.
Much has changed in Kashmir because of the extensive anti-terrorism operations. The statistics have confirmed that there has been a drastic decline in incidents of terrorism, and now it is a changed Kashmir where the people are sidestepping the pathways leading to disruption of life. The security forces, especially the J&K police have played a critical role in transforming the atmosphere, where normalcy and peace are being courted with a lot of intensity and visibility. But, the real problem is that Pakistan has shown no change of heart to reverse its approach toward Kashmir. It has been using all sorts of physical and cyber tools to convince the youth that they need to fight the security system and normalcy. The core of this propaganda is that normalcy is not in the interest of Kashmir’s cause.
The new doctrine has been envisaged by new Director General of Police R R Swain who is investing his time and energy and experience in policing in Jammu and Kashmir, and his tenure with the Centre, during his deputation, to add to the positives in the Kashmir situation.
In a series of meetings in Kashmir with police officers and representatives of other wings of the security forces, Swain has been impressing upon them to reflect and implement the methodology of connecting with the people. It was made clear that “there is an urgent need to connect to the common man and provide them an opportunity to be able to trust security force officers and voluntarily part with information.“ At the same time, it was underlined that the security forces shall enhance their capacity to operate with minimum collateral damage and inconvenience to the larger public.
Another core area is to bring down the recruitment to terror groups to zero, by taking each and every recruitment to terrorist ranks as an active terrorist or as an OGW, or as a hybrid sleeper cell terrorist be taken legal and operational cognizance. “It would be a matter of investigation as to who motivated such youth to join the terrorist gang, who provided arms ammunition, who motivated him, which school or Madrassa he was attending, who were his friends and teachers, who helped him in contacting handlers across, and which handler is responsible for pushing the youngster into the dark lanes of death and destruction. “
Yet another important aspect is that “those who have not committed an act of violence or terror and show signs of having fallen prey to the conflict entrepreneurs shall be treated differently through programmes, specially designed to minimise their vulnerability and exploitability by terror gangsters.”
This doctrine has rolled out a new promise to make J&K terror-free as also trouble free.