General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt General D.P. Pandey, GOC Victor Force, Major General Rashim Bali, and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, interacted with 83 families of active militants.
It was for the first time in 30 years of militancy in J&K that top officers of the security establishments met the kith and kin of active ultras. They assured the family members of all possible assistance to the terrorists who shun militancy.
The move did help as some families were able to convince their wards to drop the guns. They came back and are alive. But the ones who remained adamant to pursue the agenda of their handlers are getting killed in encounters and shootouts in the Valley.
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On November 24, three TRF militants - Mehraan Yaseen Shalla of Jamalata Srinagar, Arafat Ahmad Sheikh of Nikloora Litter Pulwama and Manzoor Ahmad Mir of Babhar Pulwama - were killed in a shootout with the security forces at Rambagh in Srinagar.
According to police records, Mehran Yaseen was involved in several terror crime cases including grenade attack at Barbar Shah Srinagar on June 26 this year in which one civilian Mudasir Ahmad Bhat of Hanjigund Beerwah was killed and three others sustained injuries.
Mehran was involved in the killing of Meeran Ali Sheikh at Bulbul Lanker Nawa Kadal on July 21, 2021, and of probationary sub-inspector Arshad Ahmad at Khanyar on September 12 this year. He was also involved in the killing of school principal Supinder Kour and teacher Deepak Chand of Government Higher Secondary School, Khankah Noorbagh in Srinagar, on October 7, 2021.
His another aide killed in the shootout - Arafat Ahmad - was also involved in several terror crime cases, including the killing of a non-local labourer at Litter area in Pulwama in south Kashmir on October 16 this year.
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Another slain ultra - Manzoor Ahmad - was involved in transportation of foreign militants from south to central/north Kashmir and vice-versa through his strong OGW network.
The three militants shot dead by the security forces in Srinagar, according to the police, were hardcore ultras, and were on a mission to disrupt the normal life by throwing grenades and killing innocents. They were young and could have achieved anything in their lives. But they chose death over life.
When the top commanders of the security forces met the family members of active militants in Shopian two months ago, they told them that societal and family support can wean these boys away from the path of violence and death.
They informed them that the security forces were ready to accept surrenders by militants even during the active operations as they were focusing on the militants without weapons, who sustain and handle terror activities.
"The overall aim is to break the cycle of violence," the officers said.
Militant handlers change strategy
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Militant handlers sitting across the Line of Control (LoC) have realised that many Kashmiri youth have understood that choosing life over death makes sense, and picking up arms won't serve any purpose. These handlers seem to have changed their strategy. It's clearly visible that the ultras during the past two months haven't attacked the security forces. Instead, they are attacking common people and are choosing soft targets.
It appears that they have been told to ensure that blood keeps on spilling in Kashmir to send a message to common people that they cannot board the wagon of peace and development.
The changed tactics of militants are ample proof of the fact that Pakistan is in no mood to let the people of J&K live in peace. It wants to carry on with the proxy war it had started 30-years ago at any cost. Lives of J&K people don't matter for the people sponsoring militancy and violence.
For them J&K people are nothing more than tools destined to die. Pakistan which claims to be fighting war for Kashmir's "Azadi" considers common Kashmiri as its cannon fodder without whom conflict can't be kept alive.
Army, Police make attempts to protect youth
The army, J&K police and other security forces in the Valley are making every possible attempt to safeguard the lives of common people and to protect them from becoming the instruments of the militant handlers, who through social media and other means are radicalising the youth.
Just a few days ago J&K Police prevented three teenage boys from crossing the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara in North Kashmir. The boys, all residents of Meej Pampore, were following the directions of handlers from across the LoC. They were in touch with militant handlers and were following their directions. After being apprehended police handed them over to their family members.
"They are fortunate enough that their lives were saved and now they have a chance to lead a normal and progressive life ahead," a senior police official said.
Whenever any local militant is engaged in a gunfight with the security forces, he is given ample chances to surrender. On many occasions family members of militants are called to persuade them to lay down their arms. In some cases they surrender but in many they don't and end up losing their lives.
Kashmiris caught in a web
Despite facing difficult situations, people of Kashmir are making an attempt to come out from the web they have been caught in for the past three decades. They are trying and the security agencies are helping them out but the people sitting on the other side don't want Kashmir and its people to progress.
They want them to live in uncertainty and chaos so that they can keep fighting their war by turning a common Kashmir into their shield. The common people have realized it as street protests, stone-pelting incidents and shutdowns are no more a part of lives of Kashmiris but unfortunately militancy and violence continue to be there.
Recently, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said: "I want to say that circumstances have changed but still attempts are being made. I assure you will not find militancy in any part of Jammu and Kashmir after two years."