Tuesday, Jan 23, 2018 | Last Update : 05:20 AM IST
The state police chief S.P. Vaid has said there was intelligence report about a possible assault a few days prior to this incident.
It is no comfort from the security point of view that 2017 should end with a terrorist strike in Kashmir on the last day of the year. A training camp of CRPF was attacked at 2 am and the force lost five personnel including an inspector. The terrorists, apparently owing allegiance to the Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Mohammed group, suffered two casualties of the module of possibly four well-armed fighters.
The point to note is that JeM attackers were all Kashmiris. They appeared well-trained for a guerrilla operation. It is true that the last year saw a determined effort on the government’s part to deal with terrorism in the Valley. The security forces took the initiative in pursuing the armed troublemakers and neutralised a large number of terrorists, especially in the last six months of the year. However, the government appears to be in self-congratulatory mood in its resolve to deal with Pakistan-backed terrorists. This is unwarranted.
The state of affairs in J&K — characterised by a determined refusal on the part of the Centre to engage the civilian population in a meaningful conversation around political, governance and social issues — is such that it has become almost natural for the young people to get sucked into terrorist activity. Although, of late, there have been a couple of instances wherein young boys have returned home after joining militant ranks, either on the appeal of their family or persuasion by the authorities. But a few cases do not constitute a trend which, in fact, is in the opposite direction.
The Sunday morning attack took place at Lethpora in South Kashmir just outside Awantipore on the national highway, not far from Srinagar. The state police chief S.P. Vaid has said there was intelligence report about a possible assault a few days prior to this incident. It is shocking that the camp of the 185th CRPF battalion was caught short in spite of this information. The security grid in Kashmir is in urgent need to wake up to this aspect. In numerous incidents in the past two years, the camps of the Army and paramilitary personnel have been surprised by the timing, tactics and the level of weaponry and training of the terrorists. Although strong military measures may become necessary in Kashmir at times, the issue is fundamentally political at the level of ordinary citizens. The present government appears insensitive to this aspect. There is also the crucial Pakistan dimension — the desire of the Pakistani military to grab the Valley. This aim can be thwarted with greater ease if New Delhi can ensure, through political measures, that the people of Kashmir will stand with it four square in confronting Pakistan. But our policies in the recent period are one of rejection of popular grievances. This leaves India with a weak hand in dealing with Pakistan.