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Radicalization is sweeping in the Valley, overpowering gun-driven terrorism

10/04/2021 at 5:12 PM

Arun Joshi

Two trends have come to fore with the elimination of Ansar Ghajwat -ul-Hind chief Imityaz Shah in an encounter with the security forces in south Kashmir on Friday : one,  of course, is  the universally acknowledged  fact that all terrorists have  limited life . They cannot survive beyond a time line for their game of hide and seek doesn’t last long. At some point their own supporters leak their whereabouts and that results in their end. It is happening in Kashmir, too, manifesting the fatigue factor with the armed terrorists who pose a threat to their lives as well. Their presence amidst them means possibility of encounters and the losses.

Second part is more dangerous. It lives beyond the terrorist with guns. It is the radicalization in which they are soaked in. It is an ideology with the perceived religious sanction. It is more damaging than the men with guns. The terrorists fight and die, but the radicalization influences minds without chances of recovery, because there are no debriefing opportunities available. This creates a fertile ground for the recruitment of terrorists who believe in embracing death rather than surrendering to the security forces. They are so insulated from the overall atmosphere that they walk away from their families and refuse to make a return journey. The dangerous dimensions of  this part of terrorism and the ideology behind it is more disturbing and can have a long-term effect.

They are not dependent upon arms and training from Pakistan, they have inbuilt their own network in and around the mosques and madrassas. This network is run by the ideologues, who also serve as OGWs or overground workers of the terrorist groups. The methodology is simple : youngsters of impressionable age  are  taught  about the  virtues of “ jihad”   ( holy war) for the spread of Islam .They use the  fantasies to install a false sense of lasting  victory over the mighty forces , with just being “ Jihadis” or the holy warriors.

This is at the roots of radicalization, in which the death is to be embraced while fighting the adversary. It was evident from the way the terrorists trapped in their hideouts, even residential  localities refuse to surrender even when they are faced with imminent death-like situation  with no escape routes  available to them the cordon of the security forces.

On Thursday-Friday night, several appeals were made to AGuH chief and other terrorists to surrender, they did not do so. They had taken refuge in a mosque. The dilemma for the security forces was that if the terrorists opt for fighting that could cause damage to the place of worship. But then all care was taken to avoid the damage to the mosque and the gun fight was prolonged till Friday afternoon to neuitralise terrorists. The mosque was saved. . This might have ended in a success story for the security forces but it shows that how hardened the terrorists are; they don’t care for their lives.

Our effort is to save their lives and that’s why we make all appeals them to surrender and rejoin the normal life,” said Lt. Gen. D P Pandey, Corps Commander of 15 corps, whose troops are engaged in counter-terrorism operations across the Kashmir Valley. He attributed the refusal to surrender by the terrorists to the consolidation of the radicalization of theirs.

Speaking from his experience and that of the troops on the ground, Lt. Gen. Pandey said that this radicalization is being consolidated by the “online propaganda” from across the border as also on social media.

After the elimination of Zakir Musa, who had set up AGuH in Kashmir and talked of  Kashmir becoming part of the larger Islamic state, on May 23, 2019 year , the group exists and is operating in parts of south Kashmir shows that the terrorists of the times are radicalized  and there appears to be no reversal in sight at the moment.

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