The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) report sheds light on the enduring link between cross-border infiltration and the ongoing militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, unveiling a comprehensive approach to tackle this long-standing issue.
By Ajaz Rashid
In a comprehensive assessment of the persistent insurgency within the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has underscored the correlation between this unrest and the infiltration of terrorists from beyond the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border. The MHA has articulated its commitment to addressing this multifaceted challenge through a multi-pronged approach aimed at curbing infiltration. MHA Report Highlights Link between Infiltration and J&K Militancy
According to the official MHA report for the fiscal year 2022-23, Jammu and Kashmir have grappled with terrorist and secessionist violence, which has been externally sponsored and sustained from across the border, for an extended span of approximately three decades. “The ongoing militancy in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir is intrinsically linked to the infiltration of terrorists from both the International Border and the Line of Control within the UT of J&K,” as stated in the report.
The MHA report delves into the statistical aspects of these infiltration attempts. In 2017, there were 419 recorded infiltration attempts, followed by 328 in 2018. Subsequently, 2019 witnessed 216 such attempts, whereas 2020 saw 99 infiltration bids registered. In 2021, 77 infiltration attempts were documented, and in 2022, there were 53 infiltration bids. The report also highlights the net estimated infiltration in 2017, which was 136, and 143 in 2018. In 2019, the net infiltration stood at 141, and it dropped to 51 in 2020. In 2021, the net estimated infiltration was 34, and in 2022, it was recorded at 14.
The year 2022 saw 187 terrorists killed, accompanied by 125 terrorist-initiated incidents. Notably, this year witnessed 117 encounters and the unfortunate loss of 32 security forces personnel, with 31 civilians’ also falling victim to the violence.
The MHA report emphasizes the collaborative efforts of the Government of India and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir in implementing a multifaceted strategy to counter cross-border infiltration. This comprehensive strategy encompasses strengthening border infrastructure, deploying multiple tiers of security forces along the International Border and the Line of Control, and focusing on the evolving infiltration routes. Measures also include the construction and maintenance of border fencing, the creation of culverts and bridges over nallahs, equipping security forces with advanced technology, weapons, and equipment, enhancing intelligence gathering and operational coordination, installing border floodlights along the International Border, and streamlining intelligence sharing to deter infiltration. Furthermore, proactive measures are taken against terrorists operating within the Union Territory of J&K, while policies are formulated to engage and employ the youth, thus steering them away from militancy.
The MHA report emphasizes the government’s commitment to safeguarding borders against cross-border terrorism, containing militancy, and restoring civil administration’s prominence to address the socio-economic challenges that have persisted due to prolonged militancy in the Union Territory of J&K. The report also highlights the government’s countermeasures, focusing on maintaining peace and offering opportunities to those who renounce violence to voice their concerns and grievances effectively.
Additionally, the report discusses the inception and purpose of Special Police Officers (SPOs), initiated in 1995. The creation of SPOs aimed to provide auxiliary support to law enforcement agencies in combating terrorism while involving the local population in their protection and in assisting the J&K Police and Paramilitary Forces in curbing militancy. As of now, the sanctioned strength of SPOs is 34,707, with 32,355 SPOs currently appointed. Their remuneration varies based on experience, with SPOs having less than 3 years of experience earning 6000/- per month, those with more than 3 years but less than 5 years receiving 9000/- per month, SPOs with over 5 years but less than 10 years obtaining 12000/- per month, and SPOs with more than 10 years but less than 15 years earning Rs 15000/- per month. SPOs with over 15 years of experience receive Rs 18000/- per month.
In light of the security scenario, the report also mentions the Village Defence Group scheme, initially launched by the Government of J&K in 1995, which was revised and re-notified on 14th August 2022. Members of the Village Defence Group are now designated as Village Defence Guard, with a sanctioned strength of 4,985, of which 4,153 have been constituted. Additionally, the government provides financial assistance of Rs 5.5 lakh per family to 5,764 families of West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) who migrated from various regions of West Pakistan during the partition and settled in different parts of the Jammu region. Since the scheme’s inception in 2018, a total of 38.28 crore has been disbursed to 1035 beneficiaries.