Statistics can be cold: it is their interpretation that puts them into animated perspective. There is more than one way of looking at a recent calculation by the J&K Police’s Multi-Agency Centre that after the end of the Ramzan go-slow by the security forces there has been an increase in the number of local youth joining the militants’ ranks.

Since most of the recruits are trained across the border, it could be interpreted as the return to full-fledged combat operations still leaving huge gaps in border-management ~ ex-filtration also points to easy access to the routes used by infiltrators, so claims of the cease-fire having resulted in a lowering of the guard are open to question.

Combat operations were not suspended for so long that the security-grid was dismantled, and even during the lull the forces were authorised to maintain their posture on the frontier. So the cease-fire is a weak alibi for an inability to contain clandestine movement across the Line of Control. The militants are able to come and go, almost at will ~ that is the grim ground reality.

A more ominous reading of the enhanced recruitment is that the return to full-fledged security operations has sent out a signal to the youth that only a token move had been made to bring the local folk into the mainstream, and after just one month the “military solution option” was back in favour.

Hence the rush to join the militants, a rush almost as heavy as in the month before Ramzan that had been marked by a string of “successes” by the security forces.

It is now apparent that the killing of one terrorist swells their ranks by a couple of recruitments. Referring to the post-Eid increase in enlistment, a senior security officer opined that there were more recruits than guns available for them ~ hence the trend to attack cops to make off with their weapons.

That is indeed scary; it underscores a grave failure to convince a large section of young folk where their best interests lie. Both the Central and erstwhile state government are to blame ~ they did little to capitalise on the breather.

The question arises about what is the threshold-level of violence that New Delhi deems acceptable? How many deaths will it take before policy is re-evaluated and a genuine peace initiative is launched? With the nation already in poll-mode and the government determined to sell itself as being tough, the chances of any policy shift appear remote ~ particularly when the BJP is suspected to be trying to split the PDP and trying its luck at local government formation.

A seasoned Governor like NN Vohra could quell such underhand moves by dissolving the J&K Assembly. The state cannot afford further political machination.