After the abrogation of article 370, the stone pelting incidents have dropped considerably but the number of incidents of attacks on security forces have increased. The change in tactics of terror outfits is the consequence of India’s bold steps of granting domiciles and making other unexpected changes without loosening grip on Kashmir.
The people working to establish democracy have been targeted at an alarming pace. The message is clear that the terror outfits don’t want any progress whatsoever and certainly don’t want India to implement the benefits of abrogation of article. Some people in valley are of the opinion that mainstream leaders native to Kashmir have a role in current chaotic environment of targeting political people and Sarpanchs.
A renowned house boat owner and a businessman says that the political leaders of Kashmir have lost the relevance and respect both after abrogation of article. The only way they can play foul is by projecting ‘a political void’ in kashmir. He adds that the abrogation has given a chance to Kashmiris to think out of box and possibly experiment with new faces.
While terrorist activities haven’t decreased as claimed by home ministry but experts believe that it is too early to expect closure and end to terrorist activities. “Every terror graph goes up before falling down to Zero”, says an expert on Kashmir terrorism.
IGP Kashmir Zone happily tells us that the number of people surrendering post abrogation of article has increased and in month of July alone, 21 boys have surrendered. The new surrender policy has played a major role in bringing back the lost boys.
The new methods adopted by security forces include ‘Surrender Calls’ by parents, assurance of safety by the authorities, Fixed stipend (If heinous crimes are not committed) and Skill development. The Policy has definitely yielded results in recent days.
‘W’ surrendered in Kulgam area in the month of July when his parents assured him that the officer in charge of the operation has promised the safety. W was not alone in that operation and it took 2hrs of non stop convincing by his mother over the public addressing system at an encounter site to bring him to surrender.
W like most kashmiri boys is athletic and ambitious. He loved playing football, he recalls the incident that changed his life and pushed him into the dark world of terrorism. After Junaid Sehrai son of Ashraf Sehrai joined the terror outfits, the stories of Junaid being harassed by police for no reason made rounds in Kashmir. W says that he always had the picture of Burhan in his wallet and was moved by the stories of Junaid as well.
“It is wrong to assume that people join the terror outfits to avenge Gujarat or anything that they show you in the movies, the truth is that everyone here on ground has suffered in one way or other, it is just the matter of breaking point.”, he says regretting that “my breaking point was not based on my own experience but the sense of duty created by sensationalism”.
W tells us that Social media has played an important role in reaching out to vulnerable people. W too joined the group using social media. Even though W wasn’t involved in any killing and surrendered in his very first operation, he says that he never received weapons training as well. “We didn’t know we would be attacked on the day I surrendered.” The other terrorist had escaped after W’s surrender and was later killed after CASO. “I had just started hanging out with another guy who told me that I would be social media manager for a page”.
“I am good at Adobe and i designed many themes as well.” W adds. He says that he was photographed in orchards when the only man he knew took him to meet the group. “That photo did not go well with the Security agencies and my family was harassed and I decided to not return home without being a martyr”. W says that he knew his parents are in pain but feared that he would be killed if he tried to meet them.
W says that he has decided to choose new life and is undergoing de-radicalisation outside Kashmir. W believes that the narratives of change in demography and stories of persecution are used to lure people into outfits, he adds that majority of the people who join are educated and know what they are doing. On asked if he believes that terrorism is the way, W says that a solution is necessary and denial will only lead to temporary peace.
The number local boys who join the terror outfits have reduced with spike in surrender rates which can be termed as a micro achievement of hard measures post abrogation of article 370.