The statement by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that India should follow hot pursuit policy, and target terrorists based on specific intelligence has raised the hackles of Kashmiri separatists, and even political parties based in Kashmir who are crying hoarse that BJP government is trying to take Kashmir back to Nineties when violence was at it’s peak.
Parrikar had said that terrorists need to be neutralized through terrorists only, and there was no need for the soldiers to do it. The statement by Parrikar which might just be a thought expressed by the defence minister however created a controversy in Kashmir with many alleging that the minister was pointing towards creating a militia group to handle the terror groups.
Kashmir based politicians took no time in taking potshots, and former CM Omar Abdullah said that the coalition government wanted to revive the Ikhwan rak when militia groups ruled the roost in Valley. Omar tweeted :”Looks like Mufti Syed (CM) is reviving & empowering the Ikhwanis. That’s the only way to carry out “terrorists killing terrorists” policy of MOD,” Omar tweeted.
PDP minister Naeem Akhtar however countered Abdullah by saying that everyone in Kashmir knows who was behind Ikhwan, and it was National Conference which had unleashed terror in valley between 1996 to 2002. Akhtar said it was Mufti who played an important role in ending the state sponsored militia in the state.
It is worth recalling that Ikhwan was propped by the security forces as a state backed counter terror group which was used to neutralize the terrorist. The Ikhwanis were known to have helped the security agencies in meeting the terror threat, and they were disbanded a decade back with many being absorbed in army and police.
When insurgency was at its peak in Kashmir in the first half of the 1990s, the state-sponsored counter insurgent groups were employed to tackle the militants, particularly in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. These counter-insurgents, known as Ikhwanis, were notorious for their disregard to human rights and torture.
While they actively helped security forces in tackling militancy, these groups were disbanded and many of them were absorbed in regular forces like the Army and Jammu and Kashmir police when the PDP-Congress coalition government came to power in 2002.