Terrorist-Free Districts, No Hartals, Uniform Academic Calendar: How Kashmir is Better Than Before

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

The current situation in Kashmir is arguably better than it has been in nearly three decades, and there are many metrics to judge it.

The era of Pakistan-sponsored insurgency in Kashmir is over now, and people are supporting security forces to weed out terrorism from J&K. A mere slogan is landing people in jail under the stringent Public Safety Act and the anti-terrorist law, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Separatist leaders, whose entire political capital was based on the number of shutdown calls and protests, have been pushed into oblivion.

Some of the metrics to judge the current situation in J&K is the record number of tourists who visited Kashmir this year despite it not being the peak tourist season.

Around 1.62 crore tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir since January 2022, according to government data.

Another metric is the 200 working days during the academic session this year. After a gap, routine academic activities began in the educational institutions across Kashmir with no protests and incidents of stone pelting on school buses.

Importantly, after almost three decades, schools functioned without being forced to shut due to protest calls by separatists.

Shutdowns have impacted the everyday workings in Kashmir since the last 30 years. People had forcibly seem to have accepted the social and violent repercussions of protests without having the space to question them.

The Hartals caused immense degradation in the social and political life of the people of Jammu & Kashmir and caused the downfall of its economy greatly.

Now, people move around in Kashmir without fear of being caught in stone-pelting. The mob violence had made every place unsafe. Even mosques were not spared. Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid was turned into a weekly theatre of stone-pelting. So much so, a police officer was lynched to death on the mosque premises on a sacred night of the Islamic calendar.

Another metric is residual terrorist infrastructure is at its lowest in the last 10 years. As far as the geography of terrorism is concerned, North Kashmir, which once was the hotbed of terrorism, has seen little violence in recent years, with the epicentre of terrorism shifting to South Kashmir.

At present, three districts of north Kashmir — Bandipora, Kupwara and Ganderbal – are “terrorist free” while terror outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed have gone “headless” after security forces neutralised their operatives and commanders in several operations and encounters, a senior police officer said.

The security forces have neutralised 44 terrorist commanders across J&K this year. Therefore, the space for terrorists has almost been severely curtailed.

Recently, J&K Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh, said terrorism in UT was at its lowest ebb, and the Jammu region is almost cleared of the menace due to the pro-active approach of security agencies along with the cooperation of people.

“If you take into account the facts and figures, terrorism has reached its lowest ebb (in Jammu and Kashmir). Barring one district where three to four terrorists are active, the rest of nine districts in Jammu region are militancy-free,” Singh had said.

He had said the year 2022 proved to be the most successful for the security agencies in their fight against terrorism. The current situation is such that the new recruits are forced to think 10 times whether the path they are going to tread is worth a selection or rejection, he added.

“We are also counselling young boys and making them understand the conspiracies being hatched by Pakistani agencies that are enjoying the bloodshed in Jammu and Kashmir. They have bled J-K over the past 30 years and time has come to understand their strategy, shun the path, condemn their actions and stand up against them,” DGP said while adding that security forces are being fully supported by public to weed out terrorism.

“We have full support of the public, a large section of the youngsters are with us and that is the reason that militancy has come down to its lowest level. The residual militancy will also be finished as well,” the police chief had said.

The concerted crackdown on terror financing has been a major shot in the arm for the security forces. The stone-pelting incidents have stopped almost completely because of the funding that fuelled it has dried. But stone pelting was also curbed by stringent policing by identifying and book key instigators.__news18.com