New Delhi: Amit Shah unveiled a statue of peace in Srinagar on July 9. This was before the home ministry said that there was a nine-fold increase in the encounters in Kashmir besides tens of killings of non-locals in the region.
A few months ago, at the HT Leadership Summit, Shah had drawn a parallel between peace in the valley and Article 370 abrogation. “There was Article 370 for the last 75 years. Why was there no peace? If there is a relationship between peace and Article 370, was the Article not in place in 1990? It was there in 1990 why there was no peace? Even if we include figures for targeted killings, we are not even close to 10 percent. This means there is peace,” he said.
Before his address to Lok Sabha, Shah in Rajya Sabha had said that the “abrogation of this Article will lead to the end of longstanding bloodshed” in Kashmir. He also added that almost 40,000 Kashmiris who had lost their lives due to conflict could have been saved if this Article was abrogated earlier.
However, Shah’s comments and figures on the ground do not seem to go hand in hand. There have been 28 killings of non-local migrant workers in the valley since 2017, according to the data shared by the Parliament. This number is much higher as compared to the killings that took place in the preceding years.
The government said that although attacks have cumulatively reduced but killings remain rife. “The Government has a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and the security situation has improved significantly in Jammu and Kashmir. There has been a substantial decline in terrorist attacks from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021. However, there have been a few targeted attacks on people belonging to minority communities and migrant workers by terrorists sponsored from across the border,” MHA said in Lok Sabha.
After the abrogation of Article 370, the number of killings went climbing upwards. All the 28 as per killed MHA were killed since 2017 but as per the independent analysis by India Ahead, 19 were killed after the abrogation of article 370 itself.
In 2019 itself, 11 people were killed.
In 2021, five migrant workers were killed in the attacks by the militants.
And more recently, in almost five attacks, three migrant workers have been killed here.
Meanwhile, India Ahead also observed that there is not a specific pattern in these killings. Contradictory to a majoritarian view, where many political analysts say that the killings are purely an attempt to wipe out and scare the non-Islamic minorities from Kashmir, India Ahead found that, of the 18 killings of non-locals post article 370 abrogation, 10 have been Muslims.
Out of the five that were injured in these attacks, two were Muslims. In one of the attacks in Kulgam district, militants had barged into accommodations of laborers from West Bengal and selectively killed all the Muslims – five at once.
Most number of the attacks, seven, have taken place in Pulwama alone. This is followed by three in Srinagar, two in Kulgam, and Shopian each. One attack has also taken place in Rajouri but none was killed and it was a grenade explosion outside the shanty of a non-local family.
Also, the attacks carried out against these nonlocal migrant workers have been largely owned by the newly formed militant groups which include The Resistance Front mostly. Experts say that these are the proxies created by Pakistan and are actually offshoots of the infamous existing groups.
The current figures also suggest that foreign militants in the valley have outnumbered the local militants. Despite 125 militants being gunned down till June this year, the number of active militants in the valley still stands above 140 of which 82 are foreigners as per reports.
The increasing number of foreign militants implies increased infiltration into the valley and the number of local active militants also substantiates that many youngsters are still taking to guns.