Express News Service

SRINAGAR: Security experts are sensing a shift in the pattern of militant violence in Jammu and Kashmir as four non-Muslim civilians have been gunned down in the Valley in the last five days. They feel the militants are aiming to create fear among minority communities and recreate the situation of early 1990s in Kashmir. 

“Yes, there is a pattern in the violence. It is to create panic and gain relevance on the part of militant organisations functioning under the ISI’s umbrella,” Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain told TNIE. 

He said the militants outfits could be aiming to recreate the situation of the early 1990s, whereby political Islam could be brought to bear through the purging of minorities. “It may have succeeded then to an extent but we are far stronger today to not fall prey to the designs of our adversaries,” said Lt Gen Hasnain, who had also served as GoC of Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps.  

Retired J&K police chief S P Vaid said militants kept on changing their plans. “First they were targeting BJP leaders and now they are targeting minority community members. They want to spread fear and terror,” he said. Vaid said there was a clear change in the pattern of violence as militants wanted to prevent their own casualties by avoiding direct confrontation with security personnel and targeting soft targets. The former police chief said killings would continue till the militant group involved in such killings was neutralised. 

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar said due to the killing of large number of militants, their handlers across got frustrated and changed their strategy.  “In all such cases, militants have been using pistols. These acts are committed by newly recruited militants or those who are about to join militant rank.”