State of the States

Tit for Tat #Abductions in Kashmir

Tit for Tat #Abductions in Kashmir
The tit for tat abductions late last month show the worsening situation in the Kashmir valley. The #Narendra Modi Government in India has been trying to normalize the situation in Jammu and #Kashmir with both political and administrative steps but it appears that its efforts have not met with much success.
The BJP, which heads the National Democratic Alliance, NDA, Government formed a coalition with the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, headed by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and later after his death by his daughter, Mehbooba Mufti. If the objective of the coalition was to bring peace to Jammu and Kashmir, it failed signally in achieving the goal.
Terror attacks went up substantially in the last four years. There was no let up also in infiltration of terrorists from across the Line of Control and the international boundary. Casualities suffered by the security forces in encounters with terrorist elements went up both at the borders and within the state.
When the Narendra Modi dispensation found that the coalition with the PDP was not giving the desired results, it walked out of the arrangement. This led to imposition of Governor’s rule in the state.
But, even this step has not led to any improvement in the situation in the Kashmir valley and on the Line of Control.
#Balance of ‘terror’ approach
There have been several instances in the last few years of terrorist elements kidnapping policemen and security forces personnel. Perhaps they want to show that the security forces are not in affective control of the Kashmir valley. The terrorists want to reinforce the perception of their being able to strike at will in the state.
The incident on August 31 is serious as for the first time in decades, the terrorists abducted family members of policemen. The last such incident had taken place in 1995 when a Kashmiri militant group had kidnapped five tourists demanding the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, who later founded the dreaded terrorist outfit, the Jaish-E-Mohammed. In the August 31 incident, suspected Jaish-E-Mohammed terrorists kidnapped three policemen and eight of their family members.
The development followed the arrest of Hizbul Chief Syed Salahuddin’s second son by the National Investigation Agency on August 30. Syed Ahmed Shakeel had been arrested on charges of funding terrorist activities.
In all, the terrorist elements abducted eleven family members of policemen from villages in the Pulwama, Anantnag and Shopian districts of South Kashmir.
Later, the terrorists released all eleven relatives of policemen after the state administration released the kin of the three militants detained earlier.
Cops demoralized?
The series of kidnappings by terrorist elements has spread a wave of fear among family members of police personnel in the valley. Observers say that this may demoralize the police personnel who are on the cutting edge of the fight against terrorist elements by the security forces.
The unceremonious removal of Director General of Police of Jammu & Kashmir S. P. Vaid earlier this month appears to be linked to the tit for tat kidnappings episode and the alleged swap of relatives of police personnel and terrorist elements.
#Political initiatives needed
But replacement of one police officer by another is not going to restore peace in Jammu & Kashmir, especially the valley. For that, the Narendra Modi Government will have to take political initiatives to open talks with representatives of all groups of people in the state. There appears to be no sign of that happening at present.

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