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ISI changes tack on Kashmir, gets results

By Vicky Nanjappa
July 31, 2010 15:51 IST
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Vicky Nanjappa reports on how the ISI's new tactic seems to be working for it in Kashmir valley

Violence in Kashmir is back and the Intelligence Bureau's inputs suggest that external forces are once again fuelling the violence and that they have no plans of backing down.

But this time, there's a change in the modus operandi. The ISI has specifically instructed the terror groups to target the security personnel by provoking them in the garb of stone-pelters so they open fire on innocent civilians.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau told that as per their intercepts, the ISI has specifically told groups such as the Laskhar to step up violence so that the attention of the world turns to Kashmir. There has been a lot of international pressure on these groups of late, and the recent WikiLeaks exposes have linked the ISI with terrorism.

The IB says Kashmir is like a safe house for the ISI and whenever it finds itself on the back foot, it uses this issue to divert attention. The ISI feels that a large part of the international community still treats the Kashmir issue sympathetically.

The new strategy was evolved after the Pakistan-based groups found it difficult to carry on as the sympathy factor among locals was missing. The IB says by provoking the security personnel into killing civilians, they hope that the mindset of the locals change completely.

The IB says the ISI has a well prepared force in place for Kashmir. The Lashkar comprises not just Pakistani Mujahideen, but also other ethnicities, like Arabs, Sudanese, Palestinians etc numbering 4500. Their job is to keep infiltrating into the valley and create confusion.

This is not some knee-jerk reaction which has come against the backdrop of the statements critical of Pakistan made by British Prime Minister David Cameron in India. The ISI has been nurturing its Kashmir group for some time now.

But with the ISI finding that its troops were demoralised over the last one year over the scale of violence having come down, it was decided to focus on turning the popular sentiment away from India.

The ISI also found that demoralisation among its cadres affected its fresh recruitments, and felt that better perks would attract more people.

The ISI then hiked the amount paid to the jihadis, from Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000. In addition, they have been promised more money for family members in case any of the jihadis were killed. This indeed has worked for the ISI, the IB says.

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Vicky Nanjappa