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New security challenge in J&K is ‘faceless militancy’: DGP

With August 6 marking three years since the revocation of special status to J&K, Singh told The Indian Express that the new modus operandi of militants’ handlers is “they immediately ask them (recruits) to commit an act of terror violence — throw a grenade, fire at somebody or kill someone”.

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Highlighting a “strategic shift” in Jammu and Kashmir, J&K Police DGP Dilbag Singh said that a “faceless militancy”, in which militants have no past record, is now the biggest security challenge in the Valley.

With Jammu and Kashmir’s special status ending three years on August 6, Singh told The Indian Express that the new modus operandi of terrorist handlers is to “immediately ask them (recruits) to commit terrorist violence.” To say – throw a grenade, shoot at someone or kill someone”.

“Once they become involved, it becomes a way of preventing their return to society,” he said.

Singh attributed this change to senior militant leadership being neutralized and unavailable to plan, identify targets and carry out attacks. Singh, who has been the DGP of Jammu and Kashmir Police since October 2018, said terrorist organizations have “started to revive old connections”.

The top police officer also underlined that in most of the recent killings in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly through targeted attacks on the migrant population and police personnel, the suspect has no past history – and is mostly “only a social media type”. Is a follower of, is seeing something being promoted on the internet inspired by these things.”

He said the challenge in such cases was that “you can’t check their identity against any database”.

According to police records, this year at least 80 people were identified as fresh recruits, of whom 60 per cent have been dropped.

“What have they achieved in the process? Other than their own death and the grief it has brought to their families. Therefore, this is the only concern…Social institutions, families, religious and political leaders- it is their responsibility to Advice the youth not to get influenced by such conspiracies or propaganda by Pakistani media,” Singh said.

Since January 2019, at least 690 terrorists have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir. During the same period, records show, 149 security personnel and 57 J&K Police personnel lost their lives. At present, the police register a list of at least 129 active terrorists in the area.

The DGP also expressed concern over the young age of the militant recruits. “Recruitment is being seen among school dropouts….sometimes in their teens. It has shifted to a younger demographic. Earlier they were 25 or 27 or 30. Now it is even 16 or 17. It is unfortunate,” he said.

Singh also said that the decision not to return the bodies of terrorists killed in the encounters to their families, so as to prevent large funerals, has been “effective” in stopping the recruitment. He said that “social media alone is a big factor” in the current era of militancy in the Valley.

“Earlier a young terrorist used to become a respected figure in his field. People will follow him and try to emulate him. Today there is hardly any leader of that kind or vintage,” Singh said, adding that at least 29 terrorist commanders of various terror outfits were killed in the Valley this year.

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