Jammu and Kashmir has seen a declining trend when it comes to terror attacks

While the Indian Army is busy retaliating against the highest-ever ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army in last 16 years on the Line of Control, the hinterland has remained relatively calm. As per the Army's assessment, violence parameters in Kashmir valley have come down, including terror attacks.

According to figures complied by Army headquarters, since abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani army has opened fire at the India side on almost 1,900 occasions. And in most cases, use of high-calibre artillery like 105mm-155mm was seen, instead of small arms. Places like Krishna Ghati, Bimber Gali, Naushera, Sunderbani, Poonch and Tangdhar have witnessed maximum number of ceasefire violations.

But the hinterland has seen a declining trend when it comes to terror attacks, as only 161 incidents of terror attacks were reported last year compared to 254 in 2018.

Even local youth joining jihadis, which caused a serious trouble for security agencies, has gone down drastically in the past one year. While 220 local youth had joined the militant groups in 2018, the figure came down to 119 in 2019.

There has been a sharp increase in young Kashmiris joining militant groups in the recent past, especially after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by the security forces in 2017.

Maximum youth were joining the militancy from districts in south Kashmir like Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam and Baramulla. In Pulwama, while 64 youth joined militancy in 2018, the figure came down to 36 last year. From 48 in 2018, it has come down to 20 in Shopian and in Kulgam, it has gone down to 13 from 28 in 2018.

From 14 youth joining militancy every month, the rate has come down to five youth moving towards militancy in Kashmir valley. Another trend of large gathering at militant funerals has also disappeared in Kashmir valley.

Recently, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat talked about de-radicalised camps operating in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, adding that radicalised youth were involved in stone-pelting in Kashmir.

Army believes that with the internal situation in Kashmir valley coming back to normal and restrictions on communication gradually revoked, albeit with some restrictions on speed and content, the worst is over. The government has also released certain political leaders and revoked Public Security Act on certain separatists in a phased manner.

On December 31, 2019, the government announced restoration of SMS in entire Kashmir valley and the broadband in all the government hospitals of Kashmir.

Consequent to the directions of apex court to review curbs on internet and with the improvement in security situation, the Centre has also ordered restoration of 2G mobile data services on the postpaid mobiles for accessing 153 white-listed sites in all the 10 districts of Jammu Division and Kupwara and Bandipora districts of Kashmir Division.

Between December 30 and January 2, nine political leaders, who were detained since the abrogation of Article 370, were released. They include Zahoor Mir, Yasir Reshi, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Abdul Majeed Paddar, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Bashir Mir of PDP, and Ishfaq Jabbar and Ghulam Nabi of the NC. J&K administration also revoked PSA against 26 persons, including former Kashmir Bar Association president who were detained since August 2019. The individuals included former Bar Association president, Nazir Ahmed Ronga from Srinagar, 11 from north Kashmir and 14 from south Kashmir.

Eight former legislators including, three ex-ministers met Lt Governor G.C. Murmu and submitted a memorandum listing their demands, which included restoration of statehood, safeguarding rights of the people over land and jobs, release of detainees, withdrawal of cases against youth, among others. The delegation comprised Altaf Bukhare, former finance minister Ghulam Hassan Mir and Mohammad Dillawar Mir, also former ministers, Zaffar Iqbal, former MLC, Javed Hassan Beig, Noor Mohammad Sheikh, Choudhary Qamar Hussain and Raja Manzoor Ahmed.

Moreover, a delegation of 15 foreign envoys from South Korea, Morocco, Nigeria, Guyana, Argentina, Norway, Philippines, Maldives, Togo, Fiji, Peru, Bangladesh and Vietnam and the US, visited J&K from January 10-11, and were briefed on prevailing situation by Lt Governor Murmu and top brass of the administration.

Earlier, the delegation was briefed in Srinagar by senior Army commanders on the situation in Kashmir and along the border with Pakistan, with focus on their efforts to disrupt peace in J&K. They also interacted with a group of former legislators and delegations of mediapersons, civil society groups and youth activists.

In an outreach program, 36 Union ministers visited 51 places in Jammu and eight in Kashmir and interacted with a wide cross-section of population.

In a significant decision to strengthen urban local bodies, the administrative council upgraded 13 municipal committees to the municipal councils in the UT, including seven in Kashmir and six in Jammu Region. Population criteria of more than 30,000 was taken into account on the basis of 2011 census to upgrade the municipal committees.

Earlier, there were only six municipal councils in J&K. Kathua, Udhampur, have been upgraded as the municipal councils. The others include Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Ganderbal, Budgam, Bandipora, Kupwara in Kashmir Division and Reasi, Doda, Samba, Kishtwar, Ramban and Rajouri in Jammu Division. In the next elections, the new municipal councils will have 17-21 wards as against 7-13 in the municipal committees.