Millennium Post

Dastardly strike

For long, India has endured aggression on Kashmir's soil, but resolving the conflict that has plagued the region since Independence takes a huge toll on the country at every juncture. Those wars against Pakistan, the rise of militancy and insurgency floating in Kashmir have always gripped the nation's attention but like every time, inconclusiveness has prevailed. It always seems as if the voices that want to resolve the issue are weaker than the forces that prefer a status quo over the longstanding conundrum. And in between these lies the state – suffering grievously. Violence grew synonymous with Kashmir decades ago and every year a new tragedy strikes with worse bloodshed. Having notorious groups promulgating deranged beliefs and bringing the innocent youth under their garb to cause turbulence and spread violence has cost India a lot over the years. In response, the ever-defensive India has only made leaps in tightening security measures and protecting the LOC with all its might. It was a significant achievement to conduct surgical strikes apart from the occasional crackdown on militants and terrorists eating the Valley like termites. Yet, India never really made a strong enough response to these incessant attempts by terror groups supported by Pakistan standing by its principle of ceasing violence for peace. Surgical strike in response to Uri stood as a remarkable example of how India's commitment to maintaining peace must not be taken for granted. But, while India made a statement by conducting the surgical strike, it unintentionally played a hand in the game that these terror outfits devised. Blood for blood has been the underlying principle for them and our patience was always the most irksome response they had to settle with. Condemning India for being silent has always been the case but deep down it has been the way to minimise bloodshed and dreaming of peace in the Valley. That is why, our intelligence, our military, our resources and our strategies have all been proactively coordinated to prevent terror strikes more than giving a response. We are a welfare state, not an eye-for-an-eye state. For being that, these outfits have time and again inflicted terror. Pulwama was a similar case – only more deleterious than ever. It sent shivers down the spine of the nation when an attack on a CRPF convoy with the SUV packed with explosives hit a bus head-on, killing more than 40 personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The 78-vehicle convoy had more than 2500 personnel being transported from Jammu to Srinagar when the deadly incident occurred which could have easily led to more deaths. This highly condemnable attack on the CRPF convoy was said to be orchestrated by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) who later released a video clip of the suicide bomber named Adil Ahmad Dar which was shot before the attack was carried out. The 20-year-old terrorist, comprehensively radicalised by JeM, was recruited by them last year specifically for this attack. In the video, Adil is seen admitting that he joined JeM's fidayeen (suicide) squad for a "purpose" and that he had waited for this moment for a year. His belief that he is the real propagator of Islam and that his name will be etched in golden letters is a clear testimony of the radicalisation he underwent whilst being trained by JeM. His assertion that this was just the "beginning" is a strong message that India to be wary of. This attack also brings attention to IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) that have the capacity to transform these terror attacks into far more deadlier ones. Security agencies and local police had identified the rising use of IEDs and were in knowledge of the same being part of a bigger plot. The fact that the intelligence knew that Pakistani terrorists who had infiltrated in recent times were plotting IED attacks and training the local terrorists to build and use the same brings us to the question as to why couldn't Pulwama be prevented. Using a car laden with explosives is a signature of the Taliban in Afghanistan which the JeM had portrayed in a video released two days prior to Pulwama attack, possibly as a hint. Not taking this seriously has caused irreversible damage. This makes it a massive intelligence blunder which has cost the nation at least 40 lives apart from a breached defence. While the world pays its condolences and leaders across the political spectrum mourn the loss, the Cabinet Committee on Security will decide the way ahead regarding the security measures. JeM made a statement and India bled, again. But the answer is certainly not an eye for an eye. Having a pro-India incumbent in Imran Khan must be utilised to bring Pakistan and India on the table and, once and for all, commit to eradicating these outfits. It has always been dearly understood that if Pakistan makes requisite efforts, it can bring down the terrorist menace that it invariably breeds. The question, as always, has been whether it really wants to this or not; and if yes, then when?

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