News18 Exclusive | Outfits Using ‘Hybrid Terrorism’ to Create Panic in J&K, Say Intel Sources

Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a major shift in activities of terrorist groups with ‘hybrid terrorists’ targeting civilians to pull the Union Territory back into panic and unrest, top intelligence sources told News18.

‘Hybrid terror’ is a strategy wherein the terrorists carrying out the attacks are not enlisted with the groups but are recruited for specific killings. Earlier, these terrorists were recruited to target security personnel, but now they are going after civilians like Kashmiri Pandits, non-locals and public representatives in civic bodies like panchayats.

Intelligence sources said the terrorist groups target Kashmir Pandits to distort the narrative in J&K and influence migration patterns by creating panic in the community.

Sources said the groups are also not deterred by security forces eliminating these ‘hybrid terrorists’. Since it is difficult to prove the association of these ‘hybrid terrorists’ with specific terrorist groups, eliminating them leads more locals taking up guns, creating more bodies for terrorist ranks.

Apart from their targets, intelligence agencies have also noticed a change in weapons being used by these terrorists. Sources said that ‘hybrid terrorists’ targeting civilians have started using sticky bombs and carrying smaller weapons.

“Instead of moving with an AK-47, they think it better to keep one small pistol in the pocket as it is easy to carry,” an intelligence source said. The quality of the pistol has also improved from Chinese fibre to a more sophisticated make.

A bank manager and a labourer were the latest victims of the terrorist groups in J&K, taking the civilian death toll to nine. Bank manager Vijay Kumar, who hailed from Rajasthan, was attacked inside a branch of the Ellaquai Dehati Bank in southern Kashmir’s Kulgam, where a schoolteacher was shot dead on Tuesday.

The Resistance Front, a shadow outfit of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group, has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack.

In a separate incident, terrorists shot at two non-Kashmiri labourers in Budgam district on Thursday night. “Militants shot at two outside labourers working in a brick kiln in Chadoora area of Budgam. They were shifted to a nearby medical facility for treatment where one of them succumbed,” a police official said.

The spate of targeted killings started in May this year which included that of Rahul Bhat, a clerk, who was shot dead inside the tehsildar’s office in Chadoora tehsil of Budgam district. Of the eight targeted killings in Kashmir since May 1, three victims were off-duty policemen and five were civilians.

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