J&K Faces Trouble From Within

20 October 2015
The Hindu
Josy Joseph

New Delhi: The worsening security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir is mostly a domestic creation as infiltration of militants from Pakistan has remained dramatically low, while communal tension and locally brewed militancy continue to flare up. 'The overall situation in the State has deteriorated. It has to be blamed on internal issues, not much to do with Pakistan,' a senior official in the security establishment said on Tuesday. He said the State has not witnessed such level of uncertainty in recent years. The security scenario, both on the militancy and communal fronts, has officials worried. 'Violence and strife are going up, not infiltration,' a senior Army officer said. Another officer said, 'Simmering tensions have emerged in public since the change of governments.' The State is witnessing a surge in communal incidents that in turn seems to be a key factor contributing to the new wave of local militancy, driven by youngsters from the Kashmir Valley. 'A fresh cycle [of violence] it is, something we have not witnessed in recent times,' one senior official said. He said such communal strife was last seen in J&K during the 2008 Amarnath land controversy. Over the last few months, while most of the violence has been related to militancy, communal incidents in both the Valley and Jammu region are further complicating the scenario. 'We find it increasingly difficult to segregate communal incidents and militancy,' one official summed up, talking about the new reality of Kashmir. Protests continue The latest flare-up of tensions in the State started with the killing of Zahid Rasool, a Kashmiri truck conductor, on October 9 near Udhampur. Rasool died in Delhi on Sunday, triggering a fresh wave of unrest and street protests in Kashmir. On Monday, the entire Valley was shut down, while some parts of south Kashmir were shut for the second day on Tuesday. Separatist leaders have been placed under house arrest. Besides the communal tensions, what is contributing to the new scenario are the efforts of some local elements to desperately step up militancy-related violence. Officials say the infiltration is almost negligible and weapons with militants are also suspected to be very low, because recently they have tried to snatch weapons from security men repeatedly. 'So it is clear that what we are witnessing now is all domestic creation,' one official argued.