Militancy down not out

Of late political observers have held that militancy is down in Kashmir but it is not out. Various reasons are given for the downward graph of militancy. But notwithstanding that, the gun remains the source of threat to the civilians. Gunning down of National Conference office bearer Abdul Rahman Ganai in Natipora by two bike riding gun shooters shows that militants have changed tactics of carrying out fatal attacks and secondly they have moved their operative base to the peripheries of Srinagar city.
It is true that security bandobasat has been tightened for the city of Srinagar and militants are unable to find opportunity of attacking their targets. They might have chosen to move out of city but not to very far off places and after striking go back to their hideouts. Whatever the case, the big question that springs from sporadic acts of militancy is whether it is feasible to withdraw bulk of troops from the summer capital and also focus on withdrawal of AFSPA. Gunning down of the NC activist is not the lone case. In the last month, there have been some cases of militancy in the valley. Early this month, militants shot at a former militant commander, Ghulam Hassan Mir, at Saderbal, Srinagar. Hailing from Tral area, he had shunned the path of violence and was doing his business in Saderbal. Last month, militants also fired at Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel at Khanyar injuring 7 CRPF men.
According to informed sources militants are under pressure from their handlers to be pro-active in Kashmir. Therefore these attacks take place sporadically to disrupt peace and normalcy. It is true that voluntary recruitment to the rank and file of militants has dried up just because they have understood the futility of fighting against the might of the state. Moreover easy movement across the LoC has been manifestly arrested by the border security force personnel. Many misguided youth still lured to gun culture have lost their lives either because of the vagary of weather and hardship of the mountainous trekking or by the retaliatory and effective action of the security forces. Return of some militants from PoK along with the families they raised during the past two decades is also indicative of bad treatment they are receiving at the hands of their handlers and mentors in Pakistan. Recently the supremo of the Jihad Council in Muzaffrabad lamented that Pakistan had backed out from her commitment of support to jihad in Kashmir. He said that his jihadis would continue their mission in Kashmir. Occasional incidents of violence could also be the sequel to the desperation overtaking the remnants of militant organizations. Nevertheless, our security forces and civilian administration cannot afford to lower the guard. State Government would be well advised not to push the matter of withdrawal of bulk of army and security forces from Kashmir back to barracks that soon.
A serious situation caused by the militants is the threat they are handing over to the elected Panchs and Sarpanchs. It is a direct challenge to the democracy and freedom of the state to run its administration judiciously. We are told that as many as 15 Sarpanchs have decided to resign owing to threatening from the militants, mostly in South Kashmir. These instruments of democracy are scattered over the length and breadth of rural Kashmir. Is it possible to provide security to each of them? No not so. Therefore the Government will have to do some serious thinking on the question of functioning of Panchayats without the fear of gun. Challenging the administration and the Government is clear indication that law and order in the state are still deficient of teeth and claws. The Government must come down with a heavy hand against those who want their writ to run in the State. Elected bodies need to be assured that nothing will be allowed to disrupt their social or political activities. One cannot rule out the possibility of militants trying to re-group at new venues and new hideouts and also adopting different strategy. Busting a militant module some days ago in the same vicinity where Abdul- Rahman Ganai was gunned down should have been taken very seriously. Deep probing into that incident might have helped security forces and the police to tumble on other conspiratorial plans of the militants including one that took the precious life of Abdul- Rahman Ganai.