Terrorism in India


  • Roots of insurgency in J&K can be traced to later part of 1940s when Pakistan attacked India with a view to capture Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Ever since there has been a section of population which believes in secession from India.
  • These groups aided and abetted from across border have often indulged in insurgent activities.
  • Following the 1971 India-Pakistan war there was a lull in the secessionist activities.
  • However, eighties witnessed large scale infiltration across border and a sudden increase in insurgency. Innocent persons were targeted and forced to flee from the State.
  • Decade of 1990s saw large scale deployment of security forces in the State.
  • Rise of Islamist fundamentalism and emergence of Al-Qaeda has added to insurgency in J&K.
  • Pakistan-based terrorist organisation called Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) is supposed to be inspired from philosophy and outlook of Al-Qaeda. Other affiliates of Al-Qaeda which continue to pose a serious threat to peace and security in India are Jaish-e-Mohammed, HUM, HUJI and Al-Badr.
  • JeM was formed by Masood Azhar, a former senior leader of Harkat-ul-Ansar who was released and handed over by India to Taliban at Kandahar (Afghanistan) in exchange of IC-814 hijacking.


  • Proactively take suitable measures by all Security forces to safeguard borders from cross-border terrorism and to contain militancy.
  • Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A have changed status of erstwhile state of J&K into 2 UTs – J&K and Ladakh.
  • A Multi-Disciplinary Terror Financing Monitoring Group (TMG) was constituted.
  • Special Industry Initiative (SII J&K) ‘UdDAAN’: The Scheme is being implemented by National Skill Development Corporation in PPP mode. It aims at providing skill and enhances employability of unemployed youths of J&K who are graduates, postgraduates or three-year engineering diploma.
  • Rural and urban youth including school dropouts are now being imparted job-oriented training in various sectors such as ITeS, Sales and Customer Service and Hospitality etc. under the ‘HIMAYAT’ scheme.
  • Local body elections re-established long overdue grassroots level democracy in J&K and Ladakh.
  • Provision of direct elections for Sarpanches of Panchayats had been restored to ensure accountability. Under 73rd Amendment all functions and functionaries have been transferred to Panchayats including institutions like Primary Health Centres, Primary Schools, Anganwadi Centres etc.
  • Relief & Rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants:Due to onset of militancy in J&K in early 1990s, most Kashmiri Pandit families along with some Sikh and Muslim families migrated from Kashmir Valley to Jammu, Delhi and other parts. A variety of measures have been taken by Government by way of financial assistance/relief and to provide succour and support to affected families, within a broad policy framework that those who have migrated will eventually return.
  • People to people contact across LOC (Confidence Building Measures):Includes travel & trade across LOC between J&K & Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • PM Development Package for J&K, 2015: PM announced a package of Rs. 80,000 crores towards Special Assistance to J&K for development.


  • North Kashmir, which once was hotbed of terrorism, has seen little violence in recent years, with epicentre of terrorism shifting to South Kashmir.
  • There has also been an uptick in terrorist actions in Srinagar, but in both quantitative and qualitative terms, level of violence has reduced drastically.
  • Infiltration across border has reduced drastically.
  • In 2022, until April, there have been only two infiltration attempts, both of which were foiled. According to the Indian Army, over 100 terrorist launch pads continue to operate in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, but this has not translated into increased activity across the LoC.
  • Number terrorist recruited are only 50 in 2022 till April which is lower than 143 in 2021.
  • In north Kashmir majority of terrorists are from Pakistan, While in South Majority terrorists are local recruits.
Improving Security Situation in J&K


·    Falling support for militancy: Earlier locals used to support militancy by giving them escape routes or engaging forces while they are carrying out their lawful duties or throwing stones or sloganeering or any form of aggression of crowds. These incidents have reduced to very low level.
·    No iconic status to terrorists: Earlier, a young terrorist would become an iconic figure in his area and inspiring other youth to emulate them. Ex. Burhan Wani. There is hardly any militant of that kind or vintage today.
·    Terror leadership eliminated: Most of the senior militant leadership has been neutralised.
·    Limited Geographical spread: Most parts of the valley is now peaceful and seems to be de-radicalising. However, terror recruitment and radicalisation continue in South Kashmir, mainly Shopian.


·    Since the senior militant leadership is missing, there lack of trained leaders who can handle planning, execution, recruitment and other aspects of terror operations.
·    Terrorists have started reviving their old connections who were active earlier. Pakistan based agencies are getting in touch with
·    Recruitment is being seen among school dropouts in adolescent age. Earlier, recruitment would be in the age of 25-30 years. However, now it has unfortunately shifted to a younger demography.
·    Foreign militants: Activities by unknown Pakistani terrorists in Srinagar. These terrorists will get in touch with overground workers (OGWs). The OGW would arrange logistics to carry out killings.
·    Terror groups are trying to revive militancy in areas that have been free of such activities like Reasi, Doda and Kishtwar. They are trying to show presence and engage cadres to carryout terror activities.
·    Young persons who crossed the border to receive training in Pakistan and did not come back are being engaged as terror handlers from Pakistan territory.
·    Drones are being used to carry weapons and cash.
·    Not returning bodies of militants to their families: Generally, during funerals, with passions running high, some boys would leave their homes and go on to join terrorist groups. Not giving the bodies and ending of funeral processions has been effective in countering radicalisation.


·    Youth continue to fall prey to propaganda by Pakistan. Social media is used by handlers in Pakistan to sway youth and are ill-motivated to leave their homes and join terror groups.
·    Modus operandi of the handlers now is that they immediately ask terror recruits to commit an act of violence, throw a grenade, fire at somebody or kill someone.
Social media needs to be regulated as it has been the principal conduit for conducting terrorist recruitment.


  • Islamist & secessionist sentiments in Kashmir began with onset of conflict in 1989 when organisations such as Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front used Islam to mobilise Kashmiris against India.
  • New phase of militancy started in 2014. Analysts point to an increase in access to social media from 25% of the people in 2010 to 70% in 2015, which facilitated this mass radicalisation and spread of anti-India propaganda amongst the Kashmiri youth.
  • Access to social media not only contributed to an increase in recruitments for Pakistani organisations such as LeT, HM, and JeM, but also created a new breed of militants whose primary devotion is to Islam.
  • Thus, organisations such as Al-Qaeda’s Ansar Ghazwa-Ul-Hind and Islamic State made their debut in J&K’s militant movement, albeit with less success than Pakistani organisations (i.e., LeT, HM, and JeM).
  • Social media gave Kashmiris new channels for their grievances and political aspirations. Anti-India narratives grew stronger, and mass radicalisation and alienation heightened.
  • An increasing number of local Kashmiris turned to militancy and started supporting, interacting with, and participating in terrorist organisations that had previously recruited only Pakistani and other foreign militants. 
  • Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram helped militants mobilize crowds; they also served as channels for training local militants and briefing them on weapons, explosive devices, and the actual conduct of attacks.
  • Between 2014 and 2020, there was a significant increase in local militancy and stone-pelting incidents in the region.
  • In 2017 the Indian armed forces launched ‘Operation All Out’ to eliminate the militant networks, their overground workers (OGW), and top militant commanders. However, as the militants’ ranks were dominated by the locals.
Local Recruitments536688126218126167
Number of stone pelting incidents4497302,6531,4121,4581,99955

Revocation of the Special Status of Kashmir

  • In 2019, central government revoked special status of J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.
  • In early 2020 a report found Valley residents expressing: they were scared, sceptical, and suspicious of the Indian state, which in their view was treating them as second-class citizens.
  • To be sure, people felt some semblance of safety too, as stone-pelting incidents dropped significantly, by 87%, in 2020.
  • Analysts attributed this to heavy on-ground deployment and outreach efforts by the Army first, during the security lockdown following Article 370’s amendment and later, when the country was placed in a nationwide lockdown as a response to COVID-19. 
  • At the same time, however, there were more than 160 local Kashmiris who joined the militants’ ranks in 2020 alone—this disproves any assumptions that radicalisation is no longer present in the Valley. An uneasy peace prevails. 

Targeted killings and hybrid terrorists

New Front Terror organisations

  • There have been targeted killings of Security Personnel, Kashmiri Pandits government employees as well as migrants.
  • New Organisations: Since the 2019 Constitutional reforms, many terrorist organisations have mushroomed under secular-sounding names, such as The Resistance Front, Anti-Fascist Force, and Kashmir Tigers, while others have more Islamist names—Al Qisaas, Al Jehad, Muslim Janbaz Force, and Markazul al Arshad.
  • Majority of these are fronts for existing terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Hizbul Mujahideen.

Hybrid terrorists

  • A new challenge in front of security forces is that of Changing face of terrorism.
  • Most of the newly formed front groups are amorphous to a certain degree, even informally structured.
  • They operate in small cells and do not have the big organisational structures that their parent organisations maintain.
  • Unlike in the past when recruits took to social media and announced their rebellion wearing guerrilla outfits and with a gun in hand, the new recruits are more discreet and operate in anonymity.
  • Most of the new recruits are not well-trained; their training is limited to firing a handgun and escaping. Typically, they ambush ‘soft’ targets (unarmed civilians or off-duty security personnel), and they are not capable of launching complex attacks.

Modus Operandi of Hybrid terrorists

  • They lead normal lives—they may be students, hold jobs, and live with their families—and often do not have a police record. They get activated for an operation and after carrying it out go back to their lives. Since they are not on the radar of the security agencies, identifying them becomes difficult.
  • These new hybrid terrorist modules are supported by white-collared overground workers—such as teachers, civil servants, lawyers, professionals, journalists, and businessmen—who provide the ideological support and finances and wage the information warfare on their behalf.


  • The single biggest challenge and threat to the security and stability of the Valley is radicalisation.
  • Government banned Jamaat-e-Islami J&K in 2019 for five years under anti-terror law on grounds that it was “in close touch” with militant outfits and is expected to “escalate secessionist movement” in the state.
  • This ban has been useful; however, radicalisation is still difficult to control.
  • External influences and narratives spreading through the cyberspace have distorted the syncretic ethos of the Valley.
  • There is decline of ‘Kashmiriyat,’ which is now being replaced by more literalist and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam.

Information Warfare

  • Radicalisation is a result of information war is being waged from within and outside Kashmir.
  • Turkey supports Pakistan’s in its information war against India.
  • The Pakistani terror machinery physically eliminates any Kashmiri who openly challenges the Pakistani and separatist narrative.
  • In recent months, the front organisations of Pakistan-based jihadist terror groups have expanded their outreach through social media by issuing statements, online magazines, and pamphlets in Hindi and other languages.
  • The information war revolves around telescoping into even a small incident and blowing it out of proportion to create a specific perception.
  • Objective: To manufacture and feed a sense of victimhood as part of the battle of ideas and attract international sympathy and media focus on Kashmir by feeding and agitating on fabricated stories.
  • Extended lockdowns, security check-posts, and collateral damage in anti-terror operations are used to further the narrative.
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