Pragmatic | Facts don’t forget

The arsenal captured from terrorists in Kashmir in the last two decades

Among the many myths about the trouble the Kashmir, a few continue to be perpetuated by Pakistan and Pakistan-backed Kashmiri propagandists even today. One of them is that Kashmir was an indigenous insurgency, with Pakistan only providing its “moral, political and diplomatic support” (as it continues to do even today in the words of the new Pakistan PM on Thursday). Another one is that India unnecessarily responded with a military hand to a political problem, where a few misguided Kashmiri youth had picked up some weapons (the canard about the high ratio of Indian security forces to civilians in Kashmir has been rebutted in this blogpost).

Here are a few hard facts to demolish these myths.

Figures with Jammu and Kashmir’s home department say that security forces have seized 30,752 AK-series assault rifles, 11,431 pistol and revolvers, 1,027 universal machine guns, 2,262 rocket propelled grenade launchers, 391 sniper rifles and hundreds of other weapons, including light machine guns and self-loading rifles.The ammunition recovered includes more than 45,00,000 bullets and 63,000 grenades, besides 45,000kg explosives.

The figures also reveal that that 21,449 militants were killed and 21,655 arrested during this period, taking the combined figures to over 43,000. Security forces lost over 5,300 soldiers and cops. The number of civilians killed crossed 16,000, officials said.[Telegraph]

The security forces in Kashmir have nearly completed their job, and contrary to what many would like us to believe, are on their way out. Reports indicate that the specialist counterinsurgency Rashtriya Rifles units are likely to be moved to the North-East while AFSPA is likely to be lifted from Jammu and Srinagar districts by the end of the year.

But with the decline in violence to its lowest levels ever, it is easy to forget the level and intensity of violence in Kashmir at the peak of insurgency. The spate of fedayeen attacks on army camps in the late 1990s are a distant memory now. These facts, brought out by the J&K state government now, are a reminder of the formidable challenge overcome by the Indian state in the last two decades. It is something we can afford to forget only at our peril. After all, in Durant’s words, “the present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding.”

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.