Srinagar, Sep 28 (IANS) For 32-years terrorist supporters in Jammu and Kashmir had a free run. Dispensations headed by politicians in the Himalayan region didn't frame any stringent laws against the terror supporters and allowed them to get away with everything.
However, after August 5, 2019 -- when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K's special status and bifurcated the erstwhile princely state into two Union Territories -- the situation changed as the government tightened its noose against the terrorists and their supporters with an aim to shatter their ecosystem, which allowed them to keep the pot boiling for three decades.
To hit the terrorists hard the security agencies launched a massive crackdown against their sympathizers who used to facilitate terrorists by providing them with logistic support, food, shelter, transport, etc.
The stringent measures that have been taken during the past three years have destroyed the ecosystem of ultras. This has allowed a common man in the Himalayan region to heave a sigh of relief as the Pakistan sponsored terrorism is weaning off.
The steps that were taken during the past three years could have been taken long back. Had the former rulers acted tough against the handful of elements responsible for pushing Kashmir to brink, the situation could have been better.
Separatists like late Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, JKLF chief Yasin Malik and others used to openly preach separatism and sedition. They used to instigate the people to hit the streets, resort to stone-pelting and sloganeering.
Former rulers turned a blind eye
Everything used to happen under the very nose of the former J&K Chief Ministers like Dr Farooq Abdullah, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
These leaders unfortunately turned a blind eye towards the activities of anti-national elements and allowed them to run a parallel system in the Himalayan region.
Former rulers were aware about how the terror eco-system was surviving in Jammu and Kashmir as the security agencies used to brief them about the situation. Instead of taking some concrete action they allowed the terror-eco-system to become stronger. They were least interested in acting tough against the terrorists and their supporters. This was one of the major reasons for the situation in the Himalayan region turning ugly and Pakistan being able to sustain the proxy war for three decades.
The Centre before scrapping the Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution, studied all phenomenons which had allowed terrorism to thrive in J&K for the three decades. This exercise led to the government framing a comprehensive strategy to deal with terror in the Himalayan region.
During the past three years security agencies have broken the backbone of the terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. They are maintaining a tight vigil over the unscrupulous elements and are not allowing them to spread their wings.
Social media which has emerged as a tool to create disturbance is being watched 24x7 by the vigilant sleuths. The CCTVs installed across Kashmir are being monitored to keep a watch on suspicious activities. Religious places that were misused by the elements inimical to peace are being watched and many other initiatives have been taken to ensure that no one succeeds vitiating the peace.
Seizure of properties, vehicles
Jammu and Kashmir Police seizing the properties and vehicles of people, who support terrorists, have proven to be effective steps to tackle terrorism. Process to attach immovable properties used as hideouts by terrorists in J&K has been initiated under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Police have warned people against providing shelter to terrorists or their accomplices. 'Don't give shelter or harbour terrorists, terror associates. Legal action will be supplemented by property attachments as per law,'J&K Police have warned.
Till 2019 no action was taken against the people who used to give shelter to terrorists in their residential houses in cities, towns and villages. To provide shelter to terrorists had become a norm. In few cases the terrorists used to barge into the houses on gunpoint and take inmates as hostages but in many the terrorist supporters used to arrange accommodation for the ultras in lieu of money or some other consideration.
Last week, the J&K Police attached a house in North Kashmir's Bandipora district after it was established that owners willfully provided shelter to the terrorists. Two terrorists, who were involved in various terror crimes, were killed in the seized house in 2021.
Investigations revealed that the said house was used for the purpose of terrorism, sheltering, harbouring terrorists and such act was voluntarily. Police had claimed that many attacks on civilians and protected persons were carried, conspired and planned by terrorists while using the seized house as hideout.
The policy of Jammu and Kashmir government has been clear that the innocents won't be touched and the accused won't be spared. In the past three years many houses and vehicles that were provided to terrorists willfully have been seized by the authorities. J&K Police have been urging citizens not to give shelter to terrorists voluntarily. People have been asked to bring the matter into the notice of police in case of any forced or coercive entry by terrorists into any house or vehicle.
In 2021, Jammu and Kashmir Police had accorded sanction for the seizure of 75 vehicles, (which included mostly four-wheelers and two-wheelers), five houses, six shops, land, and cash under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
This year many vehicles and houses have been seized and this has proven as a deterrent. Incidents of providing shelter to terrorists willfully have declined and in case the terrorists forcibly enter into the houses of people they inform the Police. This has led to terrorists staying away from the mainland. Steps taken by the government have made it difficult for the terrorists to operate freely.
A common man in J&K by his actions has proven that terrorists and terrorism were imposed on him by Pakistan. Willfully people of J&K didn't support terrorism. Now, they are no more scared of gun as they are taking the terrorists head on and are not allowing them to use a common Kashmiri as a tool.
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