Terror, Militancy & Other Challenges Faced by Indian 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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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)