SRINAGAR: The government forces in Kashmir are devising a mechanism so that they could catch militants alive in encounters following the end of Ramadan Ceasefire ending on 17 June 2018.
“Catch them alive” is the new strategy in Jammu and Kashmir to be adopted by security forces in Kashmir who killed over 70 militants in the last seven months, shift gear to focus on finding new recruits and motivating them to return to their families, senior officials said.
“Our effort is to catch them alive and understand their grievances. After all, a 15 or 16 year old boy can’t be brainwashed to the extent that he would like to be killed in a gunfight. There has to be a counter-narrative,” said a senior official engaged in counter-insurgency operations.
After the elimination of several top leaders, efforts are now on to change the script.
Operations based on specific intelligence inputs will continue but there will be also be increasing emphasis on catching newly-recruited militants alive, they said.
“We have got indication from our field intelligence that many desire to return. Some parents have also approached us and we have no hesitation in helping them resume their normal life and education at the earliest,” a senior police official said.
Several people from various parts of the Valley have been booked in the last seven months. They were entrusted with the indoctrination of young minds and motivating them to pick up arms, officials said.
The identification of these overground workers is necessary before a crackdown on the militant top brass, they explained.
The multi-pronged strategy — including encounters with militants, fighting their overground workers in courts and smashing their network of sympathisers — has also brought down the number of videos on social media showing groups of militants roaming freely in the orchards and forests of Tral, Shopian and Kulgam in South Kashmir.
The trend is now a single militant posing in a closed room with a rifle so the location can’t be identified, an official said. “The trend of videos has ended as security forces have gained an upper hand,” he added. (KNB)