January 2000 News

NC failed to curb upsurge in J&K terror

11 January 2000
The Asian Age
Dalip Singh

NEW DELHI: The Jammu and Kashmir government's adverse stand on surrendered and local militants is being understood to be one of the major reasons behind the increased militant activity in the Valley.

Security experts and intelligence agencies largely blame the Farooq Abdullah government for the resurgence of terrorism in the Valley. They say that not only has the state failed to come up to the expectations of the masses but it has also created circumstances that have led to surrendered local militants (or Ikhawanis) taking up arms again.

The surrendered militants were mainly from Ikhwan-ul Musalmeen (from which they derived their name), Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkat-ul Ansar, Harkat-ul Jehade-Islami and Al-Umar.

The J&K government has also ignored all developmental issues which has added to the anger against the ruling party. For the past one year Pakistan's proxy war has regained momentum and the ISI has managed to rope in local militants for the so-called jihad. Ironically, the Ikhwanis had distanced themselves from militancy in the recent past and had opposed ISI-backed terrorist violence in the Valley. "The Kargil conflict has only intensified the ISI's efforts to foment trouble in the Valley and elsewhere in the country," the experts feel.

Intelligence officials say that peace was restored in the recent past in the Valley because of the contribution of Ikhwanis, who were actively supporting security agencies in their fight against Pakistan-backed foreign mercenaries.

Citing a few steps adopted by the government earlier, a senior official said that the scheme to rehabilitate militants failed to deliver goods. Only about 20 per cent of the former militants were given jobs. Also, the monthly remuneration of Rs. 3,000 for the former militants was slashed into half by the National Conference government.

Some of the Ikhwanis were also implicate in cases including that of extortion by the police. Attempts were made to "expose" them among the active militants, by spreading a rumor campaign that they were "informers". This made the Ikhwanis an easy target of the active ISI operatives, an official said. The political alienation under the Farooq government, according to experts, was instrumental in marginalising the Ikhwanis and forcing them to once again join hands with ISI-backed militants. A senior intelligence official who has worked in Kashmir said: "Ikhwanis had worked hand in glove with the security agencies, like the Army and paramilitary forces, in identifying the terrorists, their hideouts and modus-operandi as they knew it well and because they were part of the entire subversive design." In certain cases, he said, the Ikhwanis had become so motivated that they had even shot militants dead. The experts claim that the Ikhwanis had also helped in rallying the people's support for the government.

 

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