Prolonged encounters with terrorists, the growing threat of radicalisation, the killing of civilians, and an increase in cross-border infiltration - these were the key issues discussed at a high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah in Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar today.
A senior Home Ministry functionary told NDTV security agencies presented their side in an inquiry into why, despite a massive build-up of Indian forces in the area and extensive outreach efforts by the government, the twin threats of radicalisation and home-grown terrorism were on the rise.
Government data says 32 civilians have been killed so far this year; 41 were killed in the whole of last year. Further, in the first nine months of this year, there were 63 cases of terrorist-initiated encounters and 28 instances of atrocities committed by terrorists were registered.
A ministry official told NDTV: "The narrative of the centre is that J&K is safe for everyone… but these killings prove minorities and outsiders are not safe. This is a big concern for government… so a strategy to further reassure people was discussed".
The threat of radicalisation - high on the list of the government's concerns for J&K - is something that has been flagged by all intelligence and security agencies operating in the Kashmir Valley.
Government data says 97 youngsters (local residents) had left their homes to join terror outfits; 56 have been 'neutralised'. A number of pistol-related shootings indicate they are turning violent, an on-ground officer explains.
Last year's numbers were higher - 178 joined terror outfits and 121 were 'neutralised'.
Nevertheless, the government's strategy to counter the narrative of pro-Pakistan voices is not working - this is after various raids and arrests by the NIA, or National Investigation Agency.
#WATCH Union Home Minister Amit Shah chairs security review meeting during his three-day visit to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir pic.twitter.com/qtohyuXs2P— ANI (@ANI) October 23, 2021
Mr Shah has also sought explanations on prolonged encounters and anti-terror ops.
This comes as the Army and security forces are engaged in a 13-day anti-terror op - the longest and fiercest in recent times, which has seen the death of nine soldiers. Army and police sources have said the fighting has led to speculation the terrorists may have been trained by Pak commandos.
Data shows that only 14 infiltration bids were successful this year but the number of encounters (even around Srinagar city) have gone up. A more proactive approach has been chalked out and its blueprint was discussed with the Home Minister, an officer disclosed.
Sources pointed out 114 terrorists belonging to various outfits had been killed this year, but due to continuous activity along the International Border or the Line of Control, the number of terrorists operating in the Valley is not coming down.
On ceasefire violations, till October 93 were reported, of which 48 were at the International Border (along the Jammu border) and rest along the LoC, or Kashmir border.
Internally, 80 civilian protests, 32 stone-pelting incidents and three bandh calls were given.
In 2020 these numbers were 166, 68 and two, respectively.
Amit Shah landed in J&K's Srinagar airport this morning for a three-day visit - his first since he led the government's charge to scrap Article 370 two years ago. After landing he went to visit the family of J&K Police officer Parvez Ahmad, who was among those killed by terrorists this month.