Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday chaired a high-level meeting in Srinagar, in which the key issues of prolonged encounters with terrorists, growing threat of radicalisation, the recent spate of targeted killings, and an increase in cross-border infiltration were discussed.
According to NDTV, a senior home ministry functionary said security agencies presented their side of an inquiry into why the twin threats of radicalisation and home-grown terrorism were on the rise in Jammu and Kashmir, despite a huge presence of Indian forces in the area and extensive outreach efforts by the government.
“The narrative of the Centre is that J&K is safe for everyone… but these killings prove minorities and outsiders are not safe. This is a big concern for the government… so a strategy to further reassure people was discussed,” the official reportedly said.
As many as 32 civilians have been killed this year in the UT, shows government, while 41 were killed in the whole of last year. Also, till September, there were 63 cases of terrorist-initiated encounters and 28 instances of atrocities committed by terrorists.
Citing government data, the NDTV report said 97 youngsters (locals) had left their homes to join terror outfits while 56 had been “neutralised”. Last year, 178 youth had joined terror outfits and 121 “neutralised”.
“A number of pistol-related shootings indicate they are turning violent,” an on-ground officer said.
The meeting also registered the fact that the government’s strategy to counter the narrative of pro-Pakistan voices was not working, despite raids and arrests by the National Investigation Agency. The threat of radicalisation has also increased and was flagged as a major area of concern.
Shah also reportedly asked for an explanation into why encounters and anti-terror operations were so prolonged. Currently, the Army and security forces are engaged in a fierce 13-day anti-terror operation which has seen the death of nine soldiers. There is speculation about Pakistan’s hand in training terrorists.
According to data, only 14 infiltration bids were successful this year but the number of encounters has gone up. “A more proactive approach has been chalked out and its blueprint was discussed with the home minister,” an officer was quoted as saying in the report, which also said sources pointed out that 114 terrorists had been killed this year, but due to continuous activity along the Line of Control, the number of terrorists operating in the Valley was not coming down.
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