Terror’s New Tactics
 As militant’s strike fear, double agents plague J&K police
 Arms and ammunition recovered from militants

The militant ploy in Kashmir seems to be changing. For three consecutive years — 2008, 2009 and 2010 — militants lay low. Now they are making a comeback.

And this time, they’re picking soft targets. The last time they did this was in the early 1990s, when militants attacked political workers and those suspected of having links with security agencies to strike fear and destabilise the political system. Today, political workers mostly affiliated with the ruling National Conference (NC) and panches and sarpanches are being targeted. The aim seems to destabilise the political system at the ground level, after last year’s successful Panchayat elections in which a record number of people voted across the state.

The tactics seem to be working. So far, fifteen panches and sarpanches who’d received threats in South Kashmir from militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) have resigned. The threats were both direct and through posters that appeared in parts south and north Kashmir.

However, the director general (DG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police, K Rajendra, says some of the panches and sarpanches have been targeted for reasons other than militancy. While playing the threat down, he says, “It is not something alarming.”

A major trigger for this new militant strategy seems to be the 2014 assembly elections. In the past, like during the 2008 assembly elections, militants failed to prevent people from voting. Long queues were seen outside polling stations across Kashmir valley in the 2008 assembly elections, despite the summer unrest of that year still being fresh in the minds of the people. The voter turnout proved political pundits wrong – they’d been predicting a very low turnout. Now this strategy seems to terrorise the political workers and prevent new faces from coming forward to join the electoral fray.
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