Stay the course
Terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir attacked, among other places, a school in Srinagar, killing two people and wounding scores of others. This years’ snow took a little longer to melt, but that change of state of matter has changed the state of matters — even the Hizbul Mujahideen, after all, is not planning to abandon or halt the ‘armed struggle’.
In these circumstances, the Indian Express complains that “talk of declaring an internal ceasefire in the state and creating an ambience for lasting peace has all but petered out”.
The reduction in the number of terrorist attacks on civilian targets this year is largely due to the success of comprehensive counter-terrorism measures — from border fencing, high-tech surveillance, targeted security operations, better intelligence and a little bit of help from the weather gods. Gen Musharraf too finds himself unable to scale up his Kashmir policy thanks to a combination of geopolitical and domestic compulsions.
Security forces have had as many as 70 armed engagements with terrorists since the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus got going in early April this year. These engagements have resulted in the killing of 115 terrorists, including 12 of their commanders. Calling a ceasefire at this juncture is premature, not least because counter-terrorist operations have yet to reach the point of diminishing returns. Anti-terrorism, like antibiotics, is effective only when the full course is taken.