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Could Modi as PM revive Kashmiri militancy?

May 13, 2014 12:17 IST

Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa talks to security experts about the possibility of militancy returning to the Kashmir Valley in the eventuality of Narendra Modi becoming the prime minister  

Could Narendra Modi taking over as prime minister trigger a revival of militancy in Kashmir?

The Guardian newspaper, in a report last week, quoted serving and recently retired western counter-terrorism officials as having warned that a Modi victory could lead to increased recruitment to extremist Islamic organizations in the region and reinforce propaganda efforts of violent international groups such as Al Qaeda

The report states that terror groups like the Ansar ul Tauheed have been releasing propaganda material on the 2002 Gujarat riots.‎ The outfit has also released a video called ‘Kandahar to Delhi’, which lures youth to join their ranks and fight the regime in Delhi.

Security agencies point out that militancy in Kashmir is very dependant on the Pakistan agenda.

Talking privately to rediff.com, intelligence officials say that Pakistan on its own will not try and go all out in Kashmir as the Nawaz Sharif government seems inclined towards talks with India. However, going by his pathetic relations with the army the only issue that could crop up is them superseding what he is trying to do.

Modi will face a bigger problem from home grown terrorists for whom relations and trade do not matter.

The real challenge for ‘prime minister’ Modi will be from within, says an IB officer.

C D Sahay, who was chief of the Research and Analysis Wing when the National Democratic Alliance was in power, told rediff.com that it has been seen in the past that separatists from Kashmir and also those in Pakistan have wanted to talk when the BJP-led administration was in power.

“The big concern for India has been the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, whose agenda is set by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence. Hence, to say that the Lashkar and other groups would spin out of control without an ISI directive is wrong,” he said.

Sahay added that irrespective what the ISI decides in Pakistan, a lot would depend on how “India handles handle infiltrations and cross-border security”.

Officers working in Kashmir point out that at present there is minimal support for groups wanting to carry out violence in the region.

An odd incident may take place, but an organised campaign will be hard to revive.

Sahay said, “Let us not forget that the most effective talks took place when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in power. Then, leaders from the Hurriyat had met the PM and also Advani. They had issued positive statements and the government had moved well ahead in this respect. If the NDA is in power, it would not enthuse locals in Kashmir to take up arms. In Kashmir, they would want to talk.”

Vicky Nanjappa