Restive Valley

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Restive Valley

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 | Pioneer

Restive Valley

There has been a sudden uptick in terror incidents, coinciding with the plans to hold elections in J&K

Terror-mongers in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) don't share the enthusiasm and optimism of the local population and political parties, nor of the Election Commission's, to hold polls in the Union Territory anytime soon. There has been a noticeable increase in terror attacks in the region aligning with the conduct of the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. The stability and security of the region, which has a protracted history of conflict and violence, are seriously threatened by this escalation. There have been several insurgency stages in the area, especially since the late 1980s, when militant organisations wanted to combine Kashmir with Pakistan or grant it independence. A turning point was the Indian Government's abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, which gave J&K special autonomy. This action resulted in heightened tensions and an upsurge in militant activity. There are various reasons for the revival of militancy in the strife-torn region, which had only recently started limping back to normal. Militant groups have been actively seeking new members, frequently using social media to draw in young Kashmiris. Furthermore, despite intense surveillance, cross-border infiltration continues to be a problem. For their part, militant organisations frequently seek to sabotage elections in order to cast doubt on the authority of the State machinery and to express opposition to the democratic process that the Indian Government wants to nurture in the region. The J&K security and administration are severely impacted by the rise in the incidents of terror attacks.

Additionally, these accidents cause disruptions to daily life, which hinders the growth of the region by impacting tourism, education and economic activity. In response to the increase in violence, the Indian Government and security services have taken a number of initiatives. In an effort to drive away militants, there has been a rise in cordon-and-search operations. These activities are intended to reduce collateral damage and are frequently predicated on particular intelligence inputs. Also, increased efforts have been made to win over the hearts and minds of the local population. Conversations with local authorities, youth involvement initiatives and development projects that enhance livelihoods and infrastructure are among other similar initiatives. In terms of politics, the Government is eager to hold elections in J&K  to install a local Government, which it views as essential to ensuring long-term peace and stability. However, the current state of security presents considerable obstacles to this undertaking. Even while the Government and security services are working hard to pacify the area, there are still many obstacles in the way of long-term development and stability. In order to achieve enduring peace in J&K, it is imperative that the underlying reasons of alienation are addressed, effective governance is ensured and a sincere dialogue with all stakeholders is fostered.

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