TM: "India Responds to New Kashmiri Militant Factions’ Campaign Against Civilians"
After a period of relative dormancy, India’s restive Kashmir region has been struck by violence again, witnessing an increase in the targeted killings of civilians. In October alone, there were 45 deaths, including 13 civilians and 12 security force personnel. With the killing of a well-known pharmacist, Makhanlal Bindroo, and street vendor, Virender Paswan, in Srinagar on October 5, militants from newly emerging factions have triggered a new cycle of violence.
Several days after the killings of Bindroo and Paswan, armed militants shot dead the principal and a teacher of a government school in Srinagar after identifying them as Hindus and separating them from Muslim staff (Tribune India, October 8). A week later, on October 16 and October 17, three more civilians, all from Bihar State, were killed in Srinagar and Kulgam (India Today, October 18; Hindustan Times, October 16).
Kashmiri militants have also targeted Muslims who have been working with local Hindu communities or Hindus who have moved to Kashmir for work. For example, a Muslim carpenter from Uttar Pradesh was shot dead by militants on October 16 in Pulwama. As this spree of “point-blank” killings continued into November, local Kashmir-Hindu communities, which are calledPandit; non-local Hindu and Sikh settlers; and non-local Muslims who were mistaken as Hindus have been on the receiving end of militants’ violence in Kashmir (Kashmir Observer, November 8).
Motives Behind Kashmiri Militants’ Violence: A Look at Islamic State in Hind Province
These civilian killings in Kashmir aim to instil fear among the local Kashmiri Hindu community and non-native Hindus who work in Jammu and Kashmir. As Pakistan-based militant groups like Lashkar e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhamad, and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) are lying low or are fragmenting due to ongoing counter-terrorism operations, new and shadowy militants’ factions have been forming.
These factions are often termed as ‘hybrid terrorists’ by Indian government agencies due to their covert engagement with terrorist groups. They often have no previous record of subversive activities in Kashmir and they rely on social media and body-cam audio-visuals as propaganda (The Hindu, July 5; The Tribune, August 22, 2020). By shifting their operational tactics to targeted killings and guerrilla ambushes, they are poised to carry out more attacks in Kashmir. The factions include The Resistance Front (TRF), which has threatened the non-native Hindu population, counter-terrorism officials, and even locals helping people from other states settle in Kashmir (News18.com, October 18). Besides TRF, two other factions now operating in Kashmir are the People's Anti Fascist Front (PAFF) and Islamic State Hind Province (ISHP).
Read Complete Article Here: "India Responds to New Kashmiri Militant Factions’ Campaign Against Civilians" Terrorism Monitor, (Jamestown Foundation), Volume XIX (23), December 7, 2021