J&K core group flags hybrid militants, social media campaign as major security challenges

Meet discusses fresh strategies of terrorist organisations and their handlers

January 22, 2022 04:26 am | Updated 12:36 pm IST - SRINAGAR

Hybrid militants, attacks on soft targets and social media propaganda were identified as threemain security challenges for year 2022 by Jammu and Kashmir’stop officials from civil administration, intelligence agencies and security forces during a review meeting held at theBadami Bagh Cantonment on Friday.

An official spokesman saidthe core group meeting,co-chaired by General Officer Commanding (GOC), Chinar Corps, Lt. Gen. D.P. Pandey, and Director General of Police Dilbag Singh,discussed fresh strategies of the terrorist organisations and their handlers, “including use of hybrid terrorists and targeting of soft targets.”Official figures suggested that 15 terrorists killed in 2021 were fresh names and not on the security forces’ radar.

“The challenge of propaganda of the nexus through Internet and social media was highlighted. These efforts include propaganda to legitimise killing of Kashmiri civilians by terrorists. The use of social media to spread disinformation is widespread and needs to be countered proactively by a joint effort. Efforts at synergy in exposing fake news, booking of radicals trying to foment unrest and proactive sharing of information by state agencies are being upgraded,” the official said.

The top officials from the security grid have, during the meeting, acknowledged that the ceasefire has improved the security situation along the border.“However, intelligence inputs of terrorist launch pads and terrorist training activities in Pakistan indicate the need to be alert along the Line of Control [LoC].

On the Line of Control, late snow has kept the infiltration routes open for longer time. However effective domination has ensured decrease in overall infiltration, including those from south of Pir Panjal. The vigil on the LoC against infiltration of men, drugs and weapons is continuing,” they said.

The top officials also expressed satisfaction over the setting up of the State Investigation Agency and the increased booking by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).“It is showing impact of focused intelligence and investigation efforts. These efforts have been effective in targeting drug, hawala and the over-ground workers’ networks. Legal action on those wilfully harbouring terrorists is being increased as they have direct involvement in terror activities,” the officials said.

‘Benchmarks achieved’

DGP Singh and GOC Lt. Gen. Pandey, according to the spokesman, appreciated that certain benchmarks were set and achieved successfully post the removal of Article 370for the restoration of peace and prosperity in the region.“Reduction in local terrorist recruitment is one parameter that all must approach with continued focus,” DGP Singh said, who recommended continued efforts to give chance of surrenders to local terrorists.

The Corps Commander, who termed year 2022 as a transformative year, cautioned about the trend of the terrorists using urban areas with thick built-up area for operations, “as they provide more avenues to hide or escape and puts higher onus on security forces to exercise restraint to avoid collateral damage”.The GOC has called for continued efforts along with the civil society to counter the separatist propaganda and break the cycle of violence for long term peace in Kashmir.

The core group also expressed satisfaction over 2021 witnessing “a reduction in terrorist infiltration, reduced terrorist incidents, reduced terror recruitment, increased operations based on HUMINT [human intelligence], reduced collateral damage, no civil casualties in law and order situation, reduced security forces’ casualties, increased arrest of terrorists and booking of OGWs”.

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