Target Killings

Another targeted killing, another innocent life lost, and a sense of insecurity among minorities persist. Kashmir has been facing terrorism for almost four decades now; strategies have been changed by terrorists, but the net result remains a bloodbath for innocents. This time again, a Kashmiri Pandit has been targeted, a poor security guard gunned down brutally. Terrorists not only killed him but his three daughters and wife will also struggle and suffer for the rest of their lives. The occasion was the Balakot surgical strike anniversary, and terrorists have once again been successful in marking their presence. Time and again, they make sure that the peace in Kashmir is shattered with a bang and cascading effects. Target killings occurred in October of last year, causing ten families to migrate. The OGW and UGW terrorist organisations are still active, providing them with an easy target list with all of the necessary information to cause harm. The black sheep are here among us, who provide them with lists of KP and other minority community employees, which in turn are used to issue social media threats to leave the Kashmir region. Local agencies are somehow unable to break this nexus, and the menace of terrorism goes on and unabatedly. MHA has rightly banned some more terrorist organizations, but the individuals involved are very much there, and they ensure that their presence is felt like a tremor across Jammu and Kashmir. Indeed, individual security cannot be provided to everyone, but the onus of ensuring the security of citizens lies with the administration alone. Any such incident would further exacerbate the already flared-up security issues among the minority employees working in Kashmir. It is also a fact that all these incidents are mainly happening in two or three districts, but it leaves a neurosis effect for quite a long time. The fact is that despite the best efforts of the administration, transit accommodation for all the employees is still elusive, and in the absence of secure habitat, they are vulnerable to such attacks at any time.
The administration is making the right decisions to weed out radicalised elements among government employees, but there is always scope for improvement. All these target killings point out the changed strategy of the enemy: no more suicide attacks, no more use of AK-47, no more IED blasts, but simple pistol killings, and the ultimate impact is the same. Our police and agencies have to be one step ahead of them, with more vigilance and stronger intelligence. It is not a difficult task at the moment, because the same agencies have successfully closed the chapters on stone pelting, attacks on security forces, suicide bombings, and shutting down industries. It just takes a little more application, and a proactive approach to anticipate problems and halt them immediately. These exasperated attempts by terrorists cannot disturb the reign of peace already decided upon and preferred by the Kashmiris. A spontaneous candle march in the evening by locals is a testimony that people are united; they are standing with each other irrespective of their religion, and this is the most important takeaway of the present scenario in the valley. The celebrations of Republic Day and the lack of interest shown by locals in stone pelting and shutdowns have rattled Pakistan, which in frustration is planning such cowardly incidents now. We must understand that despite being on the verge of collapse, the enemy is down but not out yet. The enemy has changed strategies, so we must also. A better plan with more focus on extra vigilance and intelligence must be adapted. CASO operations and surprise checking points have already been put in place, but whatever loopholes there are, they must also be plugged in now. Our Jammu and Kashmir Police and other security agencies have done a commendable job of rooting out terrorism, and they will plan a doomsday for this type of terrorism as well.