From 1989, insurgents, whose aim was the secession of J&K from India, began to use violent means to achieve their goal. This led to strong counter-insurgency operations. The Public Safety Act of 1978 and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 were used to counter militancy.
- As a result, a negative impression of India and its policies has been fostered; there is widespread belief among Kashmiris that the Indian state is a “coloniser” or a “occupier.”
- The consequences of these perceptions have only gotten worse in recent years, as commentators refer to “new militancy,” in which locals lead the militant movement and social media promotes widespread radicalization and the distribution of anti-India propaganda.
- In this scenario, India must make greater efforts to shape its narratives in order to address widespread negative perceptions and protect its territorial integrity.
- There was a considerable increase in local militancy and stone-pelting occurrences in the region between 2014 and 2020. The Indian armed forces began ‘Operation All Out’ in 2017 in order to eradicate militant networks, overground workers (OGW), and top militant commanders.
- As Jammu and Kashmir celebrates two years as a Union Territory (UT), militancy remains a major challenge to the security establishment, despite mounting fears that the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan could destabilise militant organisations, particularly the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM).
Measures to combat militancy
- The administration has to provide protection to the Kashmiri youth when they are studying elsewhere in India.
- District Development Councils (DDCs): Following the demise of Jammu and Kashmir as a state, the political emphasis in Kashmir switched to District Development Councils (DDCs) and grassroots development. Kashmiris who have long been frustrated by bureaucratic inefficiency can find fresh hope in elected local leaders who can assure good governance and local development.
- Organising Bharat Darshan tours for students to provide them opportunity to understand history and development of other parts of country.
- Assisting in the construction of schools, medical aid, veterinary care and disaster relief.
- Education: In the long run, the state should begin to re-emphasize education. The educational curriculum in Kashmir and the rest of India is riddled with historical inaccuracies and unfamiliarity. It is critical to promote subjects and ideas that are more personal and applicable, such as constitutional remedies for individuals living in conflict zones. Subsidise undergraduate courses and school education to selected children and youth from J&K and Ladakh in residential schools and professional colleges.
- In the age of new militancy, social media has become a critical source of information—as well as misinformation and propaganda. Despite using reactive techniques such as sweeping bans, monitoring, censoring, and reporting extremist profiles and content, the government has been unable to prevent the spread of extremist content via social media.
- The state should continue to need to invest in artificial intelligence (AI) and other technology to discourage extremist content, as well as devise innovative ways for Kashmiris to absorb the narratives generated by the Indian state and army.
- Technology: India can spend more in technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drone technology and use them in more tranquil locations. These technology technologies can be utilised to perform surveillance, maintain law and order, and dissuade militants and militant supporters from using drones.
Narratives are critical in bridging the ‘Us vs. Them’ divide. Such a schism between Kashmir and India has increased in recent years, with the emergence of ‘new militancy’ in Kashmir on the one hand, and state actions such as Operation All Out and the revocation of Kashmir’s special status on the other. As a result, the Indian government and military services are striving to strengthen its nation-building narrative by augmenting traditional missions that strive to win hearts and minds with social-media operations.
How to structure:
- Give a brief introduction about militancy in Kashmir
- Provide reasons for it
- Suggest measures that are multi-dimensional