Human security

J&K Safety Net Expanded: Not Just Operations, Raids and Arrests in New Strategy

Over the course of the three years, the scale of security operations in Jammu and Kashmir has expanded significantly beyond physical encounters to include widespread detentions under security laws, law enforcement, and law enforcement. tax raids to break down suspected funding networks and crackdown on Over Ground Worker (OGW) networks and their links. , official documents show.

A study of the data over four years reveals a new push in these areas marked by the massive use of the Law on Illegal Activities (Prevention) (UAPA) and the Law on Public Security (PSA), the constitution of the Multi Group. -terrorism monitoring agencies (TMG) and, more recently, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) by the J&K administration.

Since 2019, J&K police have cracked down on Over Ground Worker (OGW) networks leading to the arrest of more than 1,900 people accused by police of providing logistical support to activists.

Activism data compiled by the UT government also records the destruction of nearly 195 “terrorist modules” across J&K during the last two calendar years 2020 and 2021 and the destruction of approximately 35 terrorist hideouts in the year. last.

A senior official said: “Until now, counterterrorism operations have targeted and encouraged the elimination of active terrorists… but an effective strategy should now address the entire terrorist structure. This can only be done through “effective lawsuits” against the entire network, he said, “through their links, whether logistical, financial or otherwise.”

Explain

UAPA, PSA as tools

For the security establishment after August 5, 2019, the new strategy is seen as effective in breaking ties and targeting networks. But the mass arrests under UAPA, PSA, the series of raids have also raised questions of due process.

The key to this is the crackdown under UAPA and PSA in J&K. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of files under UAPA increased from 437 (2019) to 557 in 2020 and it was less than 500 in 2021. The number of people registered under these files over the last three years is greater than 2,700.

Of these, more than half, or 1,362 people, are still in detention.

The number of PSA detentions has increased significantly to 331 last year from 134 in 2020.

It is this aspect of the repression that drew criticism from political leaders in the Valley after the state split and its downgrading in August 2019.

Even two years later, young PDP chairman Waheed Para is still being held at Srinagar Central Prison, arrested hours after being granted bail from an NIA court in Jammu. He also won his seat on the Pulwama District Development Council in December of last year. However, he was not allowed to take the oath.

In November, human rights activist Khurram Parvez was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with a case filed under the Illegal Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), including the financing of terrorism.

“Dissent has been criminalized and is therefore dealt with by tough laws. Sometimes these laws may have nothing to do with the kind of offense a person is alleged to have committed. The security agencies and the ED are very serious institutions to use in rare cases, but they have been militarized and are used regularly… No one with a contrary point of view can escape the punitive actions of the GOI. ‘act of a student, activist or politician,’ said the last J&K chief minister and PDP chairman, Mehbooba Mufti.

Security operations have also been in constant turmoil. In 2020 and 2021, more than 400 militants were killed in 197 operations, roughly the number of militants killed in the previous two years (2018 and 2019).

But recruitment kept pace with the killings.

When contacted, Dilbag Singh, J&K Police Director General, told The Indian Express: “In the past year alone 89 modules have been destroyed, 670 OGWs arrested. We are focused on dismantling terrorist infrastructure in all its forms. It will continue. OGWs, he said, “have come in all shades and shades. Regardless of age, sex, profession or location. They are runners or shooters, in Belgium or abroad. What has changed is our ability to locate and identify them and we will continue to hit them hard. “

To this end, the TMG or Terror Monitoring Group was created by the Ministry of the Interior in March 2019 to effectively coordinate the actions of the various agencies. The SIA, created at the end of 2021 by the Interior Ministry of the UT administration, as a “specialized agency” to investigate cases related to terrorism at J&K, also aims to investigate and prosecute cases of terrorism at UT level.

According to official records, around 169 activists remain active in J&K, 163 of them in the Kashmir Valley. Of the 134 individuals who have joined the ranks of the militants in the past year (2021), 72 have been killed in various operations, 22 arrested and 40 remain active.

As many as 20 members of the J&K police and 23 members of the security forces were killed in 2021.
Lashkar-e-Taiba claimed the most lives in 2021, followed by Jaish-e-Mohammad and then Hizbul Mujahideen. Meanwhile, in terms of cross-border infiltration, 2021 saw a drop in gross and net infiltration with 73 people attempting to cross the LoC and 34 passing. In 2020, gross and net infiltration were 99 and 51, respectively.