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Spurt in terror attacks in Jammu region cause grave concern

The way terrorists choose their targets at will shows that they are not facing any preemptive action or resistance anywhere till they reach their target. This raises serious questions about the functioning of the intelligence network in the region.

News Arena Network - Jammu - UPDATED: July 9, 2024, 07:42 AM - 7 mins read

Security forces in Kathua.

Spurt in terror attacks in Jammu region cause grave concern

Security forces in Kathua.


Yet another encounter has broken out in Doda district of Jammu region in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. 

 

Only yesterday, five soldiers were killed and five others injured in a terror attack in Kathua district of the Jammu region. The terrorists seem to have acquired the ability to strike at will whenever and wherever they want to.

 

‘Doda encounter’, which was going on till the filing of this report, is the eighth attack in the last month in a relatively peaceful Jammu region of the Union Territory.

 

The way terrorists choose their targets at will shows that they are not facing any preemptive action or resistance anywhere till they reach their target. This raises serious questions about the functioning of the intelligence network in the region.

 

On June 9, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi took oath for the third time, a bus carrying pilgrims to the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi was attacked. Nine pilgrims were killed in that attack.

 

17 civilians have been killed in the first six months of this year in the Jammu region, which was so far presumed to be peaceful. If on average about three civilians are killed every month in a “peaceful region” what would be the state of affairs in Kashmir valley, can be anybody’s guess.

 

Kashmir Valley may seem to be peaceful on the face of it. There may be a humongous rush of tourists, with over one crore tourists having visited the valley in the first six months, but the ground reality there is equally concerning. 

 

Only three days ago, there was a fierce encounter in Pulwama in North Kashmir that left eight people, including two soldiers, dead. 

 

Those orchestrating and calibrating the terror activities in Kashmir are “keeping it peaceful” only with the purpose of tourism as it has been boosting the valley’s economy. Hence, they appear to have changed the ground of action to the Jammu region to keep the terror pot boiling. 

 

The government has been repeatedly claiming that after the Abrogation of Article 370, peace has returned to Kashmir valley. The visit of over a crore tourists in the first half of 2024 is cited as an example to prove the claims of peace.

 

Also, reasonably well participation of people in the electoral process is cited as another example of peace in the valley. But then the election of Engineer Rashid, a known separatist raises question marks over such claims. 

 

It would be a huge blunder to assume that the return of tourists to Kashmir is the same as the return of normalcy there. The ground situation does not suggest so. The Kulgam encounter is just an example. 

 

The latest attack in district Kathua of Jammu region, which left five army soldiers including a JCO dead, is only one in a series of such attacks. This was preceded by similar attacks in the same Kathua district where two police officials were killed a few weeks ago.

 

Prior to that, there have been repeated and regular terrorist attacks on the army, security forces as well as civilians. 

 

The frequency of attacks at regular intervals reflects the complete failure of the intelligence network in the union territory.

 

Take for example the July 8 terror attack in Kathua. It was carried out in deep interiors at least 50 kilometres inside the international border. 

 

How is it possible that the terrorists infiltrated crossing the border and going deep inside without getting noticed? Besides the intelligence failure, it would not be possible without local support.

 

It is not an isolated attack. The attacks are taking place at a regular frequency. In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, the Indian army carried out retaliatory attacks as it did after the Uri terror attack.

 

Unless and until there is a strong deterrent like the government resorted to in the past, the terror activities will continue. 

 

There are so many actors involved in orchestrating terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir. There is also one view that one section of the establishment in Pakistan, particularly the army, does not want its government to initiate any negotiations with India to bring normalcy to the relationship.

 

Another opinion is that the same set of actors wants to sabotage the assembly elections, which on the instructions of the Supreme Court of India, are to be held by September this year. 

 

Whatever the reasons for the spurt in terror activities, these are quite ominous and cause for grave concern. 

 

These are indicative of the greater and more serious challenges our security forces are going to face the way the terrorists are managing to reach their targets deep inside the Indian territory, without getting noticed and caught.

 

The use of technology like drones and the digging of tunnels is also a cause of concern and needs to be seriously examined. Although there has not been detection of any major tunnel network so far in Kashmir or Jammu region, a few tunnels have been found in the past.

 

“Tunnel technology”, by digging underground passage routes, has been extensively used by Hamas in Gaza. It was earlier used by the drug cartels in Mexico and Columbia and is still in use.

 

Indian security agencies will also need to consider this aspect, given the increased number of “foreign” terrorists found to be involved in the attacks. 

 

Abrogation of Article 370 initially did create a psychological impact against separatism and terrorism in Kashmir. However, the initial gains seem to be at the risk of frittering away given increasing attacks in the Jammu region. 

 

It is not that the terrorists cannot strike in Kashmir valley or they have lost the ability to do so, they are strategically keeping quiet there, maybe not to disturb the tourist industry that has transformed the economy in the valley.

 

Otherwise, they have the capacity and they can strike wherever and whenever they want to, like the Pulwama incident just two days ago. 

 

There appears to be a sense of complacency somewhere, which must be nipped in the bud. Terror threat persists and is as serious today as it was before the abrogation of Article 370. False assumptions to the contrary can prove to be fatal. 

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