Residents of Tuksan Dhok village in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district exhibited exemplary courage by overpowering and capturing two most wanted Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorists. They also snatched their weapons and handed them over to the security forces.
The daredevil act of the villagers prompted J&K Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, to announce Rs 5 lakh reward for the denizens of Tuksan Dhok village.
The J&K Police identified the two captured terrorists as Talib Hussain Shah from Draj village in Rajouri and Faizal Ahmed Dar of Pulwama in South Kashmir. Two AK-47 rifles, seven grenades, a pistol, and a large quantity of arms and ammunition were seized from them.
Natives acting tough against ultras and putting their lives at risk to capture them has once again proven that people are now against the Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and such brave acts are the result of it.
After August 5, 2019 -- when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K's special status and bifurcate the erstwhile state into two union territories -- the Himalayan region has witnessed unprecedented development. People are reaping the dividends of peace and they don't want the terrorists to disrupt their normal lives again.
The terrorist handlers sitting in Pakistan have been left high and dry due to J&K becoming peaceful and people turning their backs towards the ultras sponsored by them.
A common man in Jammu and Kashmir has understood that Pakistan and the terrorists sent by it are not his friends as they want to destabilize the region. He has realized that efforts are on to revive terrorism in J&K but the common man seems determined not to let the region relapse into the dark era of the past few decades where innocents were killed in the name of religion or after being labelled as informers.
People have now taken it upon themselves to nab the terrorists and Tuksan village has set an example. The brave hearts, who captured the two terrorists armed till teeth, were not the members of Village Defence Committees or any other group. They were common people who exhibited unparalleled courage and power to catch the ultras. Had these terrorists not been caught they could have unleashed terror by killing innocents on the directions of their bosses sitting across the Line of Control.
The act of villagers has shown the determination of the common people to pull J&K out of the quagmire of uncertainty. They have sent a clear message to Pakistan sponsored terrorists that they are no more welcome in Jammu and Kashmir, and they won't allow the ultras to succeed in their nefarious designs.
Revival of VDGs
In March this year the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had ordered the formation of Village Defence Groups (VDGs) in frontier areas of Jammu region to fight the ultras. The MHA had written to the J&K Chief Secretary informing about the revised scheme of VDGs.
The letter written by the MHA stated that in more vulnerable areas, persons leading the VDGs would be paid of Rs 4,500 per month and other members of these groups on voluntary basis will be paid Rs 4,000 per month, and the VDGs will function in the district under the directions of the concerned Superintendents of Police.
After the MHA had ordered the revival of the erstwhile Village Defence Committees as Village Defence Groups (VDGs) at that point of time many people had termed the move as the "last nail in the coffin" of the 32-year-long Pakistan-sponsored insurgency in J&K.
Residents of Tuksan by taking the armed terrorists head on have shown that with or without weapons they are ready to fight the ultras, and they won't allow them to kill the innocents.
At present security forces are providing arms training to the local volunteers. The VDGs have already started maintaining vigil in some areas and in coming days these groups will become active in the remaining places.
Preparing local populace to tackle the terrorists has served as a deadly blow to terror bosses and terrorist handlers sitting across the Line of Control. The terrorists now have to face armed civilians who would remain present in every village to protect their people.
The Village Defence Committees were first formed in 1990 in the frontier districts of Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar and Reasi after the Pakistan-sponsored insurgency broke out in J&K and terrorists after intruding into these areas started killing civilians, which led to people migrating from their native villages.
However, VDCs were weakened by the successive political regimes to appease the separatists and Pakistan. After 2015, the government led by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stopped the stipend of the VDC members and slowly disarmed these committees on the pretext that these were not needed.
Terrorism on its last legs
The brave act of the Tuksan villagers is an indication that no one wants to support terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. The Tuksan brave hearts have become an inspiration for every citizen of the Himalayan region. The terrorists have lost support in both Jammu and Kashmir regions. The Pakistan sponsored terrorism is on its last legs and the 32-year old insurgency is about to end.
Besides losing the support of locals, the shelf life of the youth joining terror outfits has declined.
From January 1 to May 31 this year of the new terror recruits only 26.6 per cent survived for more than 12 months, while the fate of 9.3 per cent of them was not known. Nearly 28.1 per cent terror recruits were killed within one month, 54.7 per cent within six months and 59.4 per cent within nine months. In the first five months of this year 70 to 75 youths joined various terror groups in Kashmir. From January 1 to May end this year 59 terrorists were killed by security forces in South Kashmir. Out of the total 90 terrorists killed in the Valley between January and May, 26 were Pakistani nationals.
Forty five terrorists were arrested along with huge cache of arms and ammunition. Security forces have developed a strong intelligence network on the ground and it's the common man who is providing all the inputs to carry out the successful anti-terror operations in J&K. Terrorists, separatists and the hate preachers are losing ground as the people of the Himalayan region want to be left alone so that they can live in peace and prosper.
Message is loud and clear that people of J&K are out to defeat Pakistan and for that they are even ready to put their lives at stake. They are supplementing the efforts of security forces by acting their eyes and ears. Like stone-pelting, shutdowns and protests, terrorism in the Union Territory is all set to end.
(With inputs from IANS)