New Delhi: Security forces are apprehensive that the Pulwama attack might lead to more recruitment of local militants in Jammu and Kashmir.
The fear is that Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammad, emboldened by the attack, will eulogise this dastardly act and try to lure more youth from “vulnerable backgrounds”.
Militant groups has suffered major reverses in the valley because of the success of the army in eliminating the terrorists. They were looking to cause a Pulama like incident to revitalise the cadre and have succeeded in doing so, insiders in Jammu and Kashmir police said. Adil Ahmad Dar, the 20-year-old, who drove an explosive-laden Scorpio and rammed it into a CRPF convoy on Thursday, killing 42 jawans and injuring dozens, was a resident of Gundibagh village in Pulwama district
“The JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammad) was desperate to do something spectacular to show its presence in the Valley and gain momentum. It will use this deadly attack as an opportunity to lure more youth towards militancy. This could lead to more local recruitment to militant ranks,” an official told news portal the Print.
“Security forces were on a militant-elimination spree across the Valley. Thursday’s attack was disturbing in many ways, including the fact that a local militant was the suicide bomber, the explosives used caused huge damage, and especially the heavy casualties. This is definitely going to have a long-term impact,” he said.
Since December 2017, 56 JeM operatives were killed across Kashmir. Out of them 41 were Pakistanis. JeMs plot is to target local boys. It has a lethal mindset,” the official said.
Sources said the police might appeal the Cenrtre to defer the ensuing elections in view of the prevailing situation in the State.
Defence and security analyst Chandrashekhar Bhattacharyya said while it was too early to say if militancy would go up, military operations would definitely intensify.
“There will be a rise in CASO/CI and CT Ops in the hinterland by security forces. Thursday’s attack doesn’t come as a surprise, because the tactics and situation was building up over time, since 2017,” he told The Print.
Pulwama falls in the south Kashmir region, which has been in the grip of violence and rising local militancy since the killing of Hizbul Mujahiddeen commander Burhan Wani in 2016.
Scores of young, educated boys — some with postgraduate degrees, MPhils and even PhDs — have joined the militancy and been killed in encounters.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, around 300 militants are active in the Valley as of January 2019. In 2018, 270 militants were killed, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal.