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Why Jammu is witnessing a sudden increase in terrorist activities?

Last Updated on January 19, 2021 at 9:48 am

Terrorism activities in Jammu have increased in the recent past with twice the usual arrests of ‘overground workers’ (OGWs) and killing of militants last year. Officials said that there are renewed attempts to increase terrorism in Jammu after the Centre abrogated Article 370.

Police data notes that in 2020, Jammu and Kashmir police arrested 25 people accused of working as OGWs to many terrorism outfits. This number is double the figure each year between 2015 and 2019, when less than a dozen OGWs were arrested across Jammu.

The OGWs provide militants logistical support within the erstwhile state and also act as couriers of arms and messages. They are also tasked to establish bases, which not only aid militants to mark their presence in multiple locations but also serve as transit areas for incoming infiltrators or Pakistani militants, said the sources.

Security officials said that these terrorists started using some of the older routes used for infiltration into Jammu last year. In Jammu last year, security forces killed 18 terrorists in 13 encounters. In 2015, 20 terrorists were killed and this number went down to 13,7,16, and nine in the following years.

In 2020, police arrested eight terrorists, two of whom were booked under the Public Safety Act last year including one OGW. These numbers seem low when compared to similar numbers in Kashmir (203 terrorists were killed in 2020), but this increasing trend of terrorism activities in Jammu has prompted security officials to seriously consider the situation.

The annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) revealed that terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir went down with 63 per cent in 2020.

Security officials believe that two factors might have contributed to this sudden increase in terrorism activities in the region — Pakistan wants to make Jammu a disputed territory and the problems faced by militant outfits to make bases in the region. Internationally, Pakistan wants to make this whole region of Jammu and Kashmir, and not Kashmir alone, a disputed territory between both the nations.

A source said that terrorism organizations made many attempts especially in 2000, mid-2000s and then post-2012, to increase their activities in Jammu but failed in their mission. Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) was successful in their attempts at fidayeen assaults in Udhampur, Gurdaspur and Pathankot but they were not able to establish proper bases in the division unlike Kashmir.

Dr Ellora Puri, professor of political science at the Jammu University, said that geography is one of the major reasons behind increased terrorism activities. The professor speculated that this increase in terrorism activities could also be caused because of geographical reasons like the terrain from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to Jammu is not as difficult as Kashmir.