Terror, Militancy & Other Challenges Faced by Indian Govt in 2017
Deradicalisation, a reach-out to the Valley, and the Rohingya crisis were some challenges for the Govt in 2017
Concerted action against militants and the appointment of an interlocutor to carry forward dialogue were key aspects of the Centre's policy on J&K in 2017, as it sought to expose the narrative of separatists through a crackdown on their flow of funds from the "neighbouring country" to finance unrest in the state.
The year also saw the Home Ministry dealing with the issue of Rohingyas, repeated ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as Maoist violence in some parts of the country.
A total of 203 militants were killed in Jammu and Kashmir in 2017, till 10 December –the highest in the past seven years – as part of the Centre’s “tough” strategy to root out militancy from the trouble-torn Valley.
Those killed included a number of top militant commanders such as Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Bashir Ahmad Wani, Abu Dujana, Junaid Mattoo, and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen’s Sabzar Ahmad Bhat.
The NIA's Role In The Valley
In 2016, security forces had a hard time dealing with incidents of stone-pelting following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in July.
Incidents of coordinated stone-pelting came down drastically in 2017 and have been attributed to action by the security forces against militant groups, coupled with probes by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into "terror funding".
The arrests of separatist leaders and others by the NIA were preceded by efforts to obtain information through improved intelligence. The government has also made efforts to wean away youth from the influence of separatists by taking steps to boost investment and employment in the state.
As part of its ongoing probe in the terror-funding cases, the NIA also seized nearly Rs 36.5 crore in demonetised currency in November.
Centre’s Valley Reach-Out
The government has said its policy to restore peace and normalcy in Kashmir focuses on five Cs – "compassion, communication, co-existence, confidence-building, and consistency."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the Valley in his 15 August Independence Day speech from New Delhi's Red Fort and said Kashmir's problems can be solved only by embracing its people, not with bullets or abuses.
As part of efforts to address the sense of alienation and improve infrastructure in the sensitive border state, the Modi government released funds under its Rs 80,000 crore package for the state announced in 2015.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh made five visits to Kashmir during the year and emphasised that the government was willing to talk to anyone in the state.
In October, the government appointed Dineshwar Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, as its special representative and interlocutor.
Sharma was appointed to “initiate and carry forward a dialogue with elected representatives, various organisations and concerned individuals in the state of Jammu and Kashmir”.
One of Sharma's objectives, apparently, is to deal with and contain radicalisation among the youth in the state.
Challenges Before The Indian Government
Pakistan resorted to repeated ceasefire violations and the home ministry gave clear instructions to the Border Security Force (BSF) "not to count bullets and give a fitting reply".
Around 900 ceasefire violations – the highest in a decade – were reportedly committed by Pakistani forces both along the Line of Control and the International Border in J&K till 10 December.
The terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir included one on Amarnath pilgrims on 10 July, in which seven persons were killed.
An ambush by Maoists in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district in April left 25 CRPF troopers dead. The attack reflected the continued challenges faced by the Home Ministry in containing violence by left-wing extremists.
The Home Ministry rejected demands for giving concessions to an estimated 22,000 Rohingyas in India, who faced violence in Myanmar, and made it clear that those who have come into India were illegal immigrants and need to be deported.
Around 22,000 Rohingyas are estimated to be living in various parts of India.
The ministry also made efforts to provide aid to people in over 19 incidents of natural disasters including Cyclone Ockhi.
India Tightens Security Amid Radicalisation
The Home Ministry held meetings with chief ministers of states bordering Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh which were aimed at enhancing border security and curbing illegal immigration, drug peddling, fake currency, and human trafficking.
In a major initiative, the Home Ministry approved a Rs 25,000-crore outlay for upgrading the internal security apparatus in states under an umbrella scheme on modernisation of police forces.
Growing unease in the India-Pakistan relationship was also reflected in the number of visas issued.
Against 52,525 visas issued to Pakistani nationals in 2016, 34,445 were issued in 2017. However, the number of visas issued to Bangladeshi nationals increased to 12,89,332, compared to 9,33,695 in 2016.
The ministry also stepped up efforts to integrate various organs of the criminal justice system such as the police, courts, prisons, prosecution, forensic laboratories, finger prints, and juvenile homes with the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) database.
Intelligence estimates have put the number of Indians, who were radicalised and joined the ISIS terror outfit, at 30.
The ministry kept a strict tab on reports about online radicalisation of youth by the ISIS
(Published in an arrangement with IANS)
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