Terrorists’ Modus Operandi in Jammu and Kashmir

Comdt. N. S. Jamwal was Research Fellow at IDSA specialising in Border Management. He is a Commandant in the Border Security Force (BSF) and has seen action in Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and the North-East. He has also served as instructor in the BSF and the National Security Guards (NSG).
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  • July 2003

    Terrorism in the state of Jammu and Kashmir has completed almost 15 years. It marked its arrival with blasts in Srinagar city in 1988 and subsequently expanded to other parts in a well-planned and organised manner. It has the ingredients of a professionally run movement. Initially, majority of the terrorists were locals who had crossed over to Pakistan in large groups in 1987 and returned after obtaining training, but gradually the foreigners, mostly Pakistanis, replaced them. Locals or foreigners, terrorists depend fully on the public support—obtained voluntarily or through coercion. For their success terrorists adopt unconventional methods in their operations. Though their masters guide them from across the border, yet terrorists follow strict discipline to maintain secrecy of their operations, movements, and other activities. They are highly motivated for survival against all odds and with the desire to succeed in their mission. Whereas terrorists’ modus operandi have undergone change over the years, the vastness of the area, mountainous terrain and widespread population makes it difficult for the security forces to achieve complete grip on the terrorists. This paper looks into some of the facets of terrorism that help it to continue despite the overwhelming presence of security forces in the state.

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