Kashmir Insurgency

SEP 7

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WHY IN NEWS?

  • Taking the security agencies by surprise, foreign militants outnumber local militants in north Kashmir - comprising three districts of Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara - in a changing trend, according to official figures.

HISTORY:

  • During colonial period:
    • In the early 19th century, Sikhs under Maharaja Ranjit Singh took control of Kashmir. The Sikhs ruled Kashmir until they were defeated by the British (First Anglo-Sikh War) in 1846.
    • After that Kashmir became a princely state of the British Empire – under the Dogra Dynasty.
    • Maharaja Gulab Singh of Dogra Dynasty signed the ‘Treaty of Amritsar’ with the British East India Company in 1846
  • After Independence:
    • During the time of partition of British India (1947), Jammu and Kashmir was a Princely State. Britishers had given all princely states choice – either to join India or to join Pakistan or even to remain independent.
    • The ruler of Kashmir during that time (1947) was Maharaja Hari Singh. He was a Hindu who ruled over a majority-Muslim princely state.
    • He did not want to merge with India or Pakistan.
  • Accession of Jammu and Kashmir:
    • However, an uprising in the western districts of the state followed by an attack by the raiders from neighboring Northwest Frontier Province, supported by Pakistan, forced the Ruler to change his stand.
    • On October 26, 1947, Hari Singh acceded to India in return for Indian military being airlifted to Kashmir to engage the Pakistan-supported forces.
    • As per Instrument of Accession the subjects like Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance and communication were given to Indian parliament and rest of the laws need concurrence of state government.
    • After the accession troops of Pakistan were expelled out of the valley by the Indian troops except the area which is known as Pakistan occupied Kashmir in India and Azad Kashmir in Pakistan.
  • Kashmir and the United Nation:
    • Mountbatten suggested the Government of India to refer the Kashmir problem to the United Nation. UN Intervention in the Kashmir led to ceasefire agreement between the India and Pakistan.
    • The ceasefire Line established in known as the Line of Control (LOC).
    • UN also passed a resolution for a referendum under the supervision of UN after the Pakistan had withdrawn its troops from the Kashmir which is under their control but till today referendum is not happened as Pakistan has refused to withdraw their troops from POK.
  • J&K Constitution, Article 370 and Article 35A:
    • The state’s own constitution came into force on 26th January, 1957 under which elections to the state legislative assembly were held for the first time >> This constitution also ratified the state’s accession to the Union of India.
    • Article 370
      • It was included in Indian Constitution as a temporary provision that grants special status to J&K.
      • All the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to J&K except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications.
      • Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws.
      • The state's residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship and ownership of the property.
      • Due to special provisions attached to this article, it always remains debatable. Those who are against it argue that it hampers integration process of J&K with the rest of the country.
    • Article 35A
      • It came into existence through a Presidential Order in 1954 and it gives the J&K assembly the right to decide the definition of Permanent residents of the state and prevent the people of the other states from buying real estate in J&K.
  • Kashmir as a battleground of proxy war:
    • Since the beginning, Pakistan tried to destabilize the Jammu and Kashmir region by direct military confrontation. Pakistan had suffered heavy losses in every war whether it is 1947, 1965 or 1971
  • Beginning of insurgency
    • After all these military confrontations Pakistan realized that direct military confrontation with India would be counter-productive.
    • Pakistan resorted to the tactics of low intensity war and started the separatist and militant insurgency in Kashmir in the late 1980s
    • With the help of Pakistan intelligence agency ISI infiltration through the border led to establishment of new terrorist organization in the valley such as Hizbul Mujahedeen, Lashkar-e-taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed
    • Establishment of these terrorist organizations in the valley resulted ethnic cleansing which forced many Kashmiri Pandits to leave the valley
    • Pakistan’s direct or indirect involvement in the funding and training of terrorist organizations in the Jammu and Kashmir region became major external security threat for India
    • Along with role of external player i.e. Pakistan the Indian government failed to fulfill the aspirations of local people, lack of development, militarization of the region, disputed state election of 1987 >> fuelled the militancy in the valley.
    • Lack of education and unemployment has made Kashmiri youth easy prey for terrorists’ groups.
    • The youth protest during Afzal Guru’s execution, sympathy rally for terrorist Burhan Wani shows how deep the radicalization has reached in Kashmir region.

STATISTICS:

  • According to official figures, insurgency in Kashmir has left more than 47,000 people dead since 1989, which also includes 7,000 security personnel.
  • According to the latest data of the police, there are between 40 to 50 foreign militants active in north Kashmir compared to just 11 local militants.

TRENDS IN NEW WAVE OF MILITANCY:

  • More radical groups:
    • Groups like Islamic State J and K with connections to transnational terror groups like Al Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS have made inroads in to Kashmir
  • New strategies:
    • Fidayeen attack and IED blasts have increased aimed at avoiding pitched battles with security forces
  • Geographical spread:
    • Recruitment of local militants have increased in South Kashmir >> traditionally North and Central Kashmir were more prone
  • Social Media:
    • Militants of new wave are active on social media
  • Celebration of Martyrdom:
    • Idea of glory in martyrdom has seen increased popularity among Kashmiri Youths
    • This had led to huge participation of local crowds in funerals of slain militants ex: Burhan Wani

CHALLENGES:

  • Situation in Afghan
    • The situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime might pave the way for convergence of radical sentiments and bring together armed fighters from other areas to pursue common goals
    • There is increased possibility of infiltration by battle-hardened militants into India along the Afghanistan border taking advantage of the weak and porous security systems there.
    • Security system had become extremely porous after the U.S. armed forces fully withdrew from the war-torn country.
    • The Taliban have reportedly said they would ‘raise voice for Kashmir Muslims’
  • Revival organised crimes
    • Revival organised crimes with trans-national network like smuggling of drugs, counterfeit Indian currency, weapons etc pose increased threat to region’s security.
  • Lack of infrastructure development
    • Extensive damage to the State infrastructure was inflicted by terrorists and anti-national elements in early 1990’s.
    • Fear of terror inhibited government agencies to function freely and restore damaged infrastructure or undertake new projects, thereby, leaving a gapping void in the Sate’s infrastructure
  • Systematic alienation of local population:
    • As part of a grand design an insidious attempt was made by terrorist with support of Pakistan >> to systematically subvert Government officials, target property, public services and symbols of State authority in order to inflict hardship and alienate local population from the national fabric.
  • Serious financial irregularities:
    • CAG report on the State’s finances for the year 2014-15 noted that >> there were persistent errors in budgeting, savings, excess expenditure and expenditure without provision in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Human rights abuses:
    • The Indian security troops have large presence in the region since the insurgency began in late 1980s. Troops have been accused and held accountable for several humanitarian abuses and have engaged in extrajudicial killings, torture, rape etc.
    • Amnesty International accused security forces of exploiting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that enables them to hold prisoners without trial.
    • The insurgents have also abused human rights, driving Kashmiri Pandits away from the Kashmir Valley, an action regarded as ethnic cleansing

STEPS TAKEN TO COUNTER KASHMIR INSURGENCY

  • Legislation:
    • Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019
      • Through this Act the government of India has extended all provisions of the Constitution to the State in one go, downsized the State into two Union Territories and allowed all citizens to buy property and vote in the State.
      • The President had used his powers under Article 370 to fundamentally alter the provision, extending all Central laws, instruments and treaties to Kashmir. However, the drastically altered Article 370 will remain on the statute books.
    • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
      • Nine outfits operating in Jammu & Kashmir such as Jaish-e-Mohhamd, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul-Mujahideen, Jammu & Kashmir Islamic Front are declared as ‘terrorist organizations’ under the UAPA Act.
  • Community interaction
    • Himayat:
      • It is a placement linked skill training programme for unemployed youth of Jammu and Kashmir
    • Operation Sadbhavana:
      • It is a unique humane initiative undertaken by Indian Army in the State of Jammu & Kashmir to address aspirations of people affected by scrooge of terrorism.
      • The focus of Operation Sadbhavana is to improve the overall core social indices of Education, Women & Youth Empowerment, and Health care with simultaneous thrust on capacity building through implemention of community/infrastructure development projects
    • National Integration Tours
      • These are being organized with an aim to integrate students and opinion makers from all regions of the State to national mainstream as also to provide them with an opportunity to experience the rich cultural diversity and varied traditions of other parts of the country.
  • Counter insurgency measures by security forces
    • Deployment of border guarding forces
      • Guarding of the Indo-Pak borders is undertaken by Border Security Force.
    • Protecting the vital security installations:
      • CAPFs protect vital installations across the state and coordinate with the J and K administration in enhancing the security arrangements based on the perceived threat level.
    • Operation Rakshak
      • It is an ongoing counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operation started during the height of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir in June 1990.
    • Operation All Out (OAO)
      • It is a joint offensive launched by Indian security forces in 2017 to flush out militants and terrorists in Kashmir until there is complete peace in the state. It includes the Indian Army, CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir Police, BSF and IB.
    • Operation Randori Behak, 2020
      • It was a recently launched counter-insurgent operation to check infiltration along LoC.
  • Border Surveillance and Management:
    • Intelligence gathering and Sharing:
      • Upgradation of intelligence setup and enhanced coordination with J and K administration and security agencies
    • Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS)
      • It aims at 24x7x365 surveillance of the border through advanced technology such as: CCTV Cameras, Thermal imaging, Night vision devices etc.
  • Accelerating economic development
    • Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP)
      • The Package consists of 63 projects for Jammu and Kashmir.
      • It will provide a major development push for J&K with projects such as AIIMS at Srinagar, IIM at Jammu, development of Pashmina wool, Cold Storage facilities for Agricultural produce and Development of Horticulture etc.
      • 18 Major Road Transport and Tunnel projects under PMDP are expected to provide much better connectivity for the people of J&K.
      • There are 5 major power projects which include Srinagar – Leh transmission line, Smart Grid and Smart Meters and augmentation of electricity distribution systems.
      • Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (JKIDFC) Limited
      • It was formed in 2018 to speed-up pending, unfunded or languishing infrastructure development projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Central Sector Scheme for Industrial Development of Jammu and Kashmir
      • To take industrial development to the block level in Union Territory (UT) of J and K, which is the first time in any Industrial Incentive Scheme of the Government of India and attempts for a more sustained and balanced industrial growth in the entire UT.
      • The scheme will encourage new investment, substantial expansion and also nurture the existing industries in the Union Territory.
    • J&K New land Allotment Policy (2021-30)
      • The policy addresses various land-related issues which are impeding industrial development in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Increased central assistance:
    • Jammu and Kashmir has received 10 per cent of all Central grants given to states over the 2000-2016 period, despite having only one per cent of the country’s population.
    • Even among the special category states, Jammu and Kashmir receives a disproportionate amount of Central assistance.
  • Deepening of the political process:
    • The Central government has amended Jammu and Kashmir’s Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, to establish District Development Councils (DDCs) in all districts in the union territory.
    • According to the amendment, every district in J&K will be divided into 14 territorial constituencies. Maiden DDC elections are held in 2020. It is aimed at enhancing grassroots-level democracy across J&K.

WAY FORWARD

  • Emphasis on socio-economic development of the region
    • Focus on agriculture and allied sector:
      • Jammu and Kashmir should shift its agriculture development strategy from food security mode to the value addition mode by growing certain products like high value fruits, vegetables and some cash crops which can give good returns to the cultivators
      • The government should pay attention to soil conservation measures aimed at stabilizing gentle slopes.
      • Private enterprise should be encouraged for marketing of fish and the possibility of selling fish in neighbouring districts of Punjab should be explored
    • Focus on infrastructure development:
      • Augmenting of water supply schemes, provision of road/track connectivity, construction of small bridges and electrifications projects are to be undertaken to improve quality of life.
      • Such projects need to be carefully planned and executed in conjunction with the local administrative machinery and elected representatives who are the real stakeholders in the development of the UT.
    • Localized industrial development:
      • Sector-specific strategies should be adopted to promote industries in Jammu and Kashmir keeping in mind the climate, accessibility, raw material availability, human resources and consumption pattern.
    • Special emphasis on women and youth empowerment
      • Special emphasis need to be laid to empower women by organising skill development training like operating of computers, knitting, tailoring etc.
      • Besides women, un-employed youth of the Sate are also being provided with opportunities for becoming self-employed
    • Health and sanitation
      • To cater for the medical needs of population living in remote and inaccessible areas, a number of medical aid/health centers need to be constructed.
  • Balancing of soft and hard power:
    • ‘Winning of Hearts and Minds’ initiative should go in hand with counter terrorism operations >> then only a long term peace can be achieved.
  • Bring inclusivity:
    • Provide equal opportunity to children from marginalized section of the society and those affected by terrorist violence.
  • Curbing online hate propaganda
    • Cybercrime police need to intensify vigil on social medial platforms and curtail the spread of communally sensitive content.
  • Securing citizens:
    • More emphasis on strengthening surveillance in areas of public gathering since there is possibility of the infiltration of suicide bombers.
  • De-radicalization initiative:
    • It requires an enduring strategy that focuses not just on targeting the external and internal actors and conditions that fuel radicalisation but also attends to the process of de-radicalisation.
    • We need to establish ‘information superiority’ in the virtual space, which will deny the ISI and their proxies the ability to use various communication platforms to their advantage.
    • Improvements in governance are necessary, whereby political leaders at all levels and the administration remain committed to the aspirations of the people

PRACTICE QUESTION:

Q. Kashmir militancy remains a major challenge to the national security of India. How far the counter insurgency measures taken by the Government helps in addressing the issue?