Updated: December 14, 2021 1:48:33 pm
The J&K Police have named ‘Kashmir Tigers’, a little-known militant outfit, in the biggest attack on security forces since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019. The attack on a police bus in Srinagar on Monday left three dead and 11 injured, several of them grievously.
The name of Kashmir Tigers first surfaced in January this year, with police calling it a shadow group of the Jaish-e-Mohammad. In June, the outfit claimed responsibility for a grenade attack in South Kashmir.
Since the August 2019 change, police have blamed several new militant outfits such as Kashmir Tigers in attacks. At least two of them, The Resistance Front (TRF) and People Against Fascist Forces (PAFF), have come up prominently, seemingly relegating the Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish to the background. The name of another outfit, the United Liberation Front, has also come up.
Security forces say there is a visible change in the nomenclature of these militant outfits – from names that had religious connotations to names that are “secular” in nature.
In both their names and their numbers, police officers see a design. “Pakistan is under pressure to increase the pitch of militancy in J&K but can’t ignore the FATF,” says an officer. “Since the names of Lashkar and Jaish are associated with Pakistan and have a religious connotation, they decided to change the names. It is also an attempt to portray militancy as secular and indigenous.”
Another impression that the new outfits are trying to create is that there is a huge presence of militants in the Valley, officers said. “On the ground, we have only around 150 to 200 militants. We have three or four major groups, which have different modules named differently,” says the police officer.
As for the “secular” nature of J&K militancy, officers say the cadres of the various outfits are essentially the same.
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