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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Engage with families of terrorists, Amit Shah to J&K administration

Home minister Amit Shah has asked the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration to engage with the families of terrorists and militants, especially those killed in counter-terror operations, in an outreach aimed at building trust in the state.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2019 23:35 IST
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, June 28, 2019.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, June 28, 2019. (PTI photo)
         

Home minister Amit Shah has asked the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration to engage with the families of terrorists and militants, especially those killed in counter-terror operations, in an outreach aimed at building trust in the state.

In some cases, the idea is to also “bring the militants back to the mainstream,” senior officials familiar with the plan said on condition of anonymity.

Shah also asked the J&K administration to name streets and roads after policemen killed in the line of duty. “The idea is to have local icons dominate the narrative,” one of the officials cited above said, explaining the rationale. During his two-day trip to J&K this week, Shah visited the family of Arshan Khan, a police inspector killed in a terror attack in Anantnag on 12 June.

Counter-terror operations in the valley will intensify in the coming days, the officials added. And, although Shah told Parliament on Friday that elections in the Jammu and Kashmir would be held when the Election Commission decides, the security establishment is advising a more cautious approach.

Security agencies and forces, especially the Indian Army, are of the opinion that violence levels must come down even further before assembly elections in the state can be conducted, the officials said. Counter-terror operations have left at least 120 terrorist dead in the first six months of the year; 257 were killed in 2018.

Despite the success, security forces estimate there are around 250 active terrorists still operating in the valley. “The remaining terrorists must be put under sustained pressure, there should be no let-up in counter-terror operations,” a second senior official added. The fact that local recruitmetnt has dipped to single digits as compared to nearly 200 in the last year has given hope to the security establishment that continued sustained operations will be “yield results” this person said.

In addition to sustained counter-terror operations, security forces also want the network of overground workers (OGW) – those who provide logistics and material support to terrorists – further weakened . In particular, security forces want the National Investigative Agency (NIA) to probe terror funding and prosecute people. “The OGW network must be dismantled completely,” a third senior official in the security establishment said. “Pressure on the terror financing network because of arrests of key figures is showing. Stone-throwing, agitations, and the number of local youth joining the ranks have dropped.”

First Published: Jun 28, 2019 23:34 IST

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