- The question is of analytical nature.
- It is testing your knowledge about the difference between militant and Over-ground workers.
- In the intro, mention some of the recent terror incidents where the role of OGWs was first noticed.
- The first part of the body of the answer should bring out the characteristic of OGW
- In the second part elaborate on the various role played by OGW –logistics support, funding support, ideological support, radicalization support, recruitment support and intelligence inputs to militants.
- Mention some of the steps needed to counter the growth and influence of OGWs
Militancy in Kashmir today is at a very critical juncture. The recent fidayeen attack on a CRPF convoy that led to the death of 46 personnel, involving a Kashmiri young Jihadi, is the most alarming indication of what lies in the future. While the state was on high alert but the terrorist was outside the radar of intelligence forces because he was being assisted by“Over Ground Worker” (OGW). The phenomenon of OGW was highlighted prominently with the arrest of various Jamaat-e – Islami’ OGWs for assisting terrorist organizations.
Over Ground Workers (OGWs):
- Overground workers (OGWs) have always been the mainstay for an insurgency movement.
- Previously, OGWs were primarily involved in logistics support and intelligence gathering.
- Of late the distinction has blurred considerably with OGW also capable of carrying out small scale strikes while retaining the capability to mix rapidly with the population.
The role played by OGWs in assisting terrorist organizations in insurgency affected areas:
- Though these workers look benign in the face of it, they are the most dangerous to society as well as the security forces.
- OGWs have become a significant tool for strategic communication and recruitment by their handlers in insurgency affected areas.
- The individuals booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) of J&K and other insurgency affected areas, who spend time in jails with hardcore terrorists, provide an ideal breeding ground for potential recruits.
- In most cases, the procedure seems to follow a standard pattern that starts out with youth being used to target security forces via stone pelting for money, progressing through more serious vandalism and then being an OGW wherein he provides logistical support for strike teams.
- The more resilient and motivated youth are then assigned jobs of more serious nature like grenade throwing and snatching of the weapon before they join the mainstream groups for more serious actions.
- It is a well-known fact that OGWs can constantly work towards the development of negative sentiment in the minds of the so-called grey population or fence-sitters in an insurgency.
- The attack by Pakistani terrorists at Sunjuwan gives this clear impression that the group had infiltrated months ago and were assisted by OGWs.
- For eg, Jammat acts as the main conduit of militancy. Its cadres function as OGWs providing infrastructure support and the protective shell in which the militants operate.
- They also help in arranging logistics, weapons, shelter and facilitating movements.
- Movement without weapons has thus become the order of the day.
- Thus, a present-day terrorist may not be easy to identify and would operate in the grey area between that of an OGW and terrorist.
- They instigating people to demonstrate on trivial grounds in order to demoralize and discredit the security forces.
Measures to neutralize the influence of OGW
- Increasing intelligence and police personnel,
- Effective crackdown on funding through enhanced surveillance,
- Further, the time spent in jails should also be monitored so as to prevent them from interacting with hardcore terrorists and fundamentalists.
- Can take the help of Community leadership to counter the militant propaganda of OGW.
- Ensuring that development is inclusive in nature to counter the feelings of alienation.
There is definitely a need to jointly map the OGWs, terrorists and anti-national elements through a multi-agency effort so that the intelligence picture generated is in sync with ground realities and not based on perceptions of various agencies. The Perception and Psyche of governance is the key to the solution of the problem and the highest standards of propriety and well thought out strategic communication for the different categories of the OGWs will separate the fish from the pond.