Kashmir Report

In Jammu and Kashmir, at least one person has died in the conflict for every day of 2018

A year that started with a fidayeen attack has left a trail of blood.

It has been called Kashmir’s “bloody Sunday”. Joint operations and civilian protests in South Kashmir on April 1 claimed 20 lives: four civilians, three Army personnel and 13 militants. Two days later, a young man injured by security forces during clashes in Central Kashmir succumbed to his injuries.

In the week that followed April 1, suspected militants killed two civilians in Hajin, in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Up in the hills, guns boomed at the Line of Control. One more militant was killed in a gunfight in South Kashmir.

A year that started with a fidayeen attack – a term used to describe suicidal strikes by militants with the intention of a prolonged stand-off – has left a trail of blood. The number of militants killed in the hinterland, or the area inside the Line of Control and the International Border, till April 1 has exceeded the figure for the same period last year – 51 in 2018, up from 33 in 2017. At least 32 security forces personnel and 25 civilians have been killed in the hinterland till date. According to the South Asian Terrorism Portal, 29 people, including civilians and security personnel, have been killed in ceasefire violations at the frontier, as of April 1.

The number of casualties in Jammu and Kashmir in 2018 is 138, which means that, on average, at least one person has died every day. That is excluding the number of cross-border infiltrators shot down at the Line of Control and security personnel killed in border skirmishes.

Broadly, four forms of violence claimed lives in Jammu and Kashmir: gunfights between security forces and militants, and the protests surrounding them; militant attacks on security instalments; abductions that ended in death; and cross-border conflagrations.

Deadly gunfights

Gunfights not only claim the lives of security forces and militants engaged in battle but also of civilians who, increasingly in recent years, get close to these sites to pelt stones in an attempt to disrupt operations.

Before the deaths on April 1, at least four persons were killed after security forces opened fire on stone-pelting crowds. On January 27, soldiers of the Indian Army opened fire on civilians during a clash in Ganowpora, in Shopian district, fatally injuring three, including a minor. Five days later, a 10-year-old child injured by an unexploded shell in Shopian died of his wounds. On February 19, a 60-year-old man, believed to be mentally challenged, was killed as he wandered into an Air Force base in Central Kashmir. In March, four civilians were killed in reported shootouts in Shopian.

To prevent civilian casualties, the state police have reportedly devised a “new strategy”. Operations should start at night and wind up by first light, Jammu and Kashmir’s newly appointed inspector general, Swayam Prakash Pani, told Greater Kashmir. In the past, security agencies avoided conducting operations late into the night.

This data compiled from news reports does not include casualties at the Line of Control.
This data compiled from news reports does not include casualties at the Line of Control.

Militant attacks

There have been three major militant attacks so far this year, all claimed or attributed to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad. The year started with a fidayeen attack in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, which left five paramilitary soldiers and three militants dead. It was the first time in years that local Kashmiris were part of the fidayeen squad.

On February 12, the Jaish struck again, this time at the Sunjuwan military station in Jammu. Six Army men and a civilian besides the three attackers were killed. In March, security forces killed the alleged mastermind of Jaish’s fidayeen attacks in South Kashmir.

In the first week of January, four policemen were killed in Sopore as an improvised explosive device exploded in the town’s market area. The attack, also claimed by Jaish, coincided with the anniversary of the 1993 Sopore Massacre, in which 53 civilians were killed in clashes with Border Security Force personnel.

On February 6, two police guards escorting Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Naveed Jutt to a Srinagar hospital were killed as the latter escaped custody. A week later, another fidayeen attack by Lashkar militants was foiled in Srinagar.

In March, two non-regular employees of the state police, called special police officers, were killed by militants. The wife of slain policeman Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh was also critically injured.

In recent years, civilians have been getting close to the sites of gunfights between security forces personnel and militants to pelt stones in an attempt to disrupt operations. (Credit: AFP)
In recent years, civilians have been getting close to the sites of gunfights between security forces personnel and militants to pelt stones in an attempt to disrupt operations. (Credit: AFP)

Cross-border flare-ups

Indian and Pakistani security forces have increasingly targeted each other with small arms fire and mortar shelling along the Line of Control. According to government figures, there were 633 ceasefire violations in the first two months of 2018, with 12 civilians and 10 security forces personnel killed.

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, at least 14 security forces personnel and 15 civilians have been killed till April 1. The portal’s data, however, is partial and numbers occasionally reported by state agencies are significantly higher, according to its executive director, Ajai Sahni.

Hundreds of border residents were displaced by the ceasefire violations, forced to leave their homes for makeshift camps further away from the line of fire. On March 18, a family of five was killed when mortar shells hit their house in Poonch district.

In a deviation from routine, the two armies traded mortar fire along the Line of Control in Uri in North Kashmir. Border residents complain of helplessness, living at the mercy of the two armies and neglected by the government.

Abductions and unidentified gunmen

Since last year, “unidentified gunmen”, familiar during the peak of the militancy in the 1990s, have started killing civilians again. This year, a spate of abductions hit the Valley, particularly Hajin in the north. The victims of these abductions were killed or later died of their injuries. According to the police, these abductions were carried out by militants. At least six civilians have been killed by suspected militants since January.

On January 3, 25-year-old Arif Ahmad Sofi was shot dead by suspected militants in the Sopore area of North Kashmir. Meanwhile, in Budgam district, a man affiliated with the separatist Hurriyat Conference was shot dead as he travelled in a Tavera by a gunman in a passing car.

Between March 11 and April 6, four youth were abducted and tortured. Muhammad Shafi Sofi’s body was found in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on March 11. Omais Bhat, a 20-year-old from Kulgam district, who had been abducted on March 8, succumbed to his injuries on March 22. The bullet-riddled body of Naseer Sheikh was found in a canal near Hajin on April 3. And the headless body of 25-year-old Manzoor Bhat was found in an orchard in Hajin on April 6. This is the second beheading in six months in Hajin.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

Play

The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.