Militancy in Kashmir stands at a crucial crossroads, underscored by recent events like the fidayeen attack on a CRPF convoy that resulted in the demise of 46 personnel, with the involvement of a Kashmiri young Jihadi. This incident highlights the alarming potential of future threats. Notably, the terrorist in question eluded intelligence forces’ radar due to assistance from an “Over Ground Worker” (OGW). The role of OGWs has gained prominence, evident in the apprehension of several Jamaat-e-Islami OGWs aiding terrorist organizations.

Role of Over Ground Workers (OGWs):

  • Historically integral to insurgency movements, OGWs have traditionally focused on logistics and intelligence gathering.
  • Recently, their roles have evolved, encompassing small-scale strikes while maintaining the ability to seamlessly blend into the local population.

Assistance of OGWs in Insurgency:

  • OGWs, while appearing innocuous, pose significant threats to both society and security forces.
  • They serve as vital conduits for strategic communication and recruitment by insurgency handlers.
  • Jailed individuals, including those under the Public Safety Act, share prison space with hardcore terrorists, nurturing potential recruits.
  • Recruitment process often begins with youth engaged in stone pelting, evolving into more severe acts like vandalism and eventual OGW roles.
  • Motivated OGWs graduate to more dangerous tasks such as grenade attacks and weapon snatching before joining main militant groups.
  • OGWs effectively target the so-called “grey population” or fence-sitters, shaping negative sentiments towards security forces.
  • Instances like the Sunjuwan attack reveal how infiltrated militants benefited from OGW assistance, with groups like Jammat serving as critical conduits.

Measures to Counter OGW Influence:

  • Strengthen intelligence and police personnel presence.
  • Enforce strict surveillance to curb funding sources.
  • Monitor jail interactions to prevent contact between OGWs and hardcore terrorists.
  • Involve community leadership to counter OGW-driven militant propaganda.
  • Promote inclusive development to address feelings of alienation.

Addressing OGW Challenge:

  • Collaborative efforts should map OGWs, terrorists, and anti-national elements through multi-agency cooperation.
  • Intelligence must reflect ground realities rather than agency-based perceptions.
  • Strategic communication tailored to various OGW categories can effectively distinguish between them.

The evolving dynamics of insurgency in Kashmir necessitate a comprehensive approach to deal with the intricate involvement of OGWs. Combating their influence demands an amalgamation of robust intelligence, strategic communication, and community engagement. By dissecting the roles and motives of OGWs, authorities can pave the way for more precise countermeasures that address the underlying challenges of insurgency in the region.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish May 8, 2024