As tensions grow between India and Pakistan the Anti Indian terrorist groups plan to raise the ante against the Kashmiri Pandits once again in a bid to seek the local support of the home grown militants in Kashmir.
The Anti Indian groups as classified by the Council on Foreign Relations are the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. The bid by these three militant organisation to garner local support comes in the wake of two aspects. There is an attempt being made by the Government to bring the displaced Kashmiri Pandits to Jammu and Kashmir. Secondly these terrorist groups have been planning to launch operations on a major scale in the Valley and have realised now that the local support for them is dwindling and they need to get it back.
The Lashkar in particular is not stranger to attacking Kashmiri Pandits. It started in the year 1998 with the Wandhama massacre in which this group killed 23 Kashmiri Pandits.
In the year 2003, the Lashkar once again massacred 24 Kashmiri Pandits. They made similar attempts in the year 2008 and 2010 as well when they attempted to attack Kashmiri Pandit refugee camps. However these attacks were foiled by the Indian army who were alerted by a milk man.
Since the year 1990 lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits have been displaced from their homes due to terrorist. At the refugee camps around Jammu there are nearly 1.8 lakh Kashmiri Pandits who stay. They are already dealing with various problems and to add to the menace is the constant threat of militant attacks they live under.
The government says that it is making efforts to bring back the Kashmiri Pandits to where they belong. However this move is faced with threats and the lack of security is what most of them have been complaining about is what an Intelligence Bureau report states. The government has to provide much more security in order to secure them when they return to Jammu, the report also points out.
Apart from the Pakistan based anti India groups there are a good number of men who are known as the Kashmiri militants. It is these militants who were killing and driving away the Kashmiri Pandits. The Lashkar did not make its debut with an agenda against the Kashmiri Pandits. However it later towed the same agenda for two primary reasons- to cause a communal divide and also the garner the support of the local forces.
The latest attempt to foil the return of several Kashmiri Pandits has an economical touch to it says the Intelligence Bureau. These Kashmiri militants fear that they may come back and reclaim their property and this is something that they want to avoid at any cost. However the fact remains that the Kashmiri militants or the local terrorists are no longer a potent force and will need to depend heavily on the Pakistan groups for logistic support. The deal between the two is to also include the Kashmiri Pandits into their agenda in exchange for local support is what the report further states.
Many of the Kashmiri militants who are no longer a potent force are only competing for economic interests. The Kashmiri Pandits were an affluent lot and had businesses galore and all of this including the lands are under the control of some militant groups. They would not want to lose control over the same.
For the Lashkar, Hizbul or the HuM, they cannot operate unless they have local facilitators. The Lashkar on the other hand would tow the line of the local militants since they not only get support but also get to further a key agenda and that is to create conditions that lead to massive communal riots in the country. Targeting the Pandits for the Lashkar was never part of their Kashmir agenda but it was part of their communal agenda.
When the Lashkar started out it has a three point agenda- Target major economic institutions in India, create and intensify a communal divide and also recruit as many Indian Muslims as possible so as to create a 1 lakh strong army.
According to C D Sahay, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, the communal agenda of the Lashkar did fail. Today with attempts being made to bring the Pandits back to Jammu and Kashmir, the Lashkar feels that it would kill two birds with a stone. Use this to garner the local support of the Kashmiri militants and secondly re-introduce the agenda of communally dividing the country through riots. They feel that they could attain a communal divide if they target the Pandits which will not go down well with the rest of the Hindus in the country.
While this is being said many Kashmiri Pandits continue to be apprehensive on a return. Even if the government assures them of ample security, they are still apprehensive and feel that unless and until the militancy problem ends they are not safe over there.
Story first published on rediff.com