Do you know about this most daring and highly successful Army operation in Jammu and Kashmir?

Over 200 terrorists have been killed in Jammu & Kashmir by the security forces in the year 2017 under ‘Operation All-Out’ which is the highest since 2010. The aim is to bring peace in the trouble-torn Kashmir Valley and to give a death-blow to Pakistan abetted terrorism. If the official figures are to be believed, till December 15, 2017, 205 terrorists have been killed in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). Out of 205, 123 terrorists were of foreign origin while 82 had local roots. In the month of November itself, 26 terrorists were neutralised. Sadly, 74 security forces have also sacrificed their lives in the operation (As per the Data available till Dec 15, 2017).

Kashmir has been volatile for the last three years but the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani from South Kashmir’s Tral in July 2016 added fuel to the fire and the Valley witnessed one of the largest spikes in militancy in recent times. But the consistent effort of the Indian Army and the J&K police led the Valley to peace to some extent. Of course, chocking of Hawala transactions of the Hurriyat and attempts to provide better governance at the political level has facilitated this process.

Under the Operation All-out, around 258 militants (130 local and 128 foreign terrorists) have been identified as potential targets. Apart from the terrorists killed, 131 terrorists were also apprehended under the operation that includes 29 associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let), 52 with Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), 9 with Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and two with Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM).

According to a security expert, Col Jaibans Singh, “Kashmir has, for long, remained in the grip of a terrorist-separatist nexus. Disruptive activities by separatists were conducted under the protection of terrorists and counter-terrorist operations were hindered by separatists. It was the common Kashmiri who was caught in between the crossfire and was suffering the most!” “The Modi-led Government, in consultation with the State Government, realised that the suffering of the common Kashmiri would not end so long as the nexus was prevailing. It, therefore, resolved to break the nexus at all cost. The government, accordingly, gave a free hand to the security forces to decimate the terrorist strength.”

Jaibans Singh also believes that the operation has brought in a sense of relief among common Kashmiris who were being tormented in everyday life. “The strategy will also pave the way for initiation of a political process without the Damocles sword of terrorism hanging on the head of the leaders. It should, therefore, continue relentlessly till zero signature of terrorism in J&K is not achieved”, adds Col Singh.

Stone-pelting Incidents Down

There has been a 90 per cent dip in incidents of stone-pelting in the Valley this year as compared to the previous one, a clear indication that the situation on ground is improving. There are multiple factors that are responsible for this change. Killing of top militant commanders along with the NIA raids is one of the major factors. There was a time when incidents of stone-pelting was a routine business for a section of youth funded by the separatists. Their funding backbone is broken now.

This is a huge change in the situation. According to Major General (Retd) Dhruv C Katoch, “In J&K, it is the common people now, who are providing information to the Army and to the police forces, of the location of the terrorists which indicates diminishing local support. The reason for optimism is the continuous elimination of terrorists in the State through focused application of force by the Indian Army. More than two hundred terrorists have bitten the dust, a number significantly higher than Pakistan’s ability to infiltrate replacements into India, to make up the loss. The dwindling numbers of terrorists in the State suggest that the critical mass required to sustain an insurgency is reducing, which has enabled the public to raise their voice against the terrorists”.

“There must be no compromise or let up in the war against terror. The will to win and to finish the proxy war, once and for all, must not fed away. Victory is around the corner. It must be seized. Also, the action needs to be taken against a corrupt bureaucracy, both at the Centre and the State, which sees a fortune to be made in these troubled times. The radicalisation of youth through Madrassas and schools needs to be checked. We need political will to finally amalgamate this section of our society with the rest of the country. It is time that Article 370 is abrogated, to bring peace and stability back to the State”, he suggested.

Recent surrender of a footballer-turned-militant Majid khan in South Kashmir is seen as a silver lining for cleaning the roots of terrorism in the Valley. It is quite early to jump to any conclusion for an everlasting peace in the Valley but optimism sparks in whenever such missions are undertaken. Battle for peace in the valley still has to go a long way!

Nishant Azad