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Indian Army Elite 9 Para Commandos in action during a operation against terrorists somewhere in Kashmir.

Are part-time terrorists a new challenge faced by the security forces in Kashmir?

Senior officials of the security forces and intelligence agencies believe they are. A part-time terrorist, also called a "hybrid terrorist", is an otherwise normal youth without any track record of terrorist activities.

"Such youth are given a specific task identified and overlooked by an overground worker (OGW) and once accomplished, they are advised to return to routine life.

"The main objective of using a hybrid terrorist is to generate fear among the masses and also create an impression of uncertainty in areas where the part-time terrorist is used," an official said.

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These youth are different from the sleeper cells of terror outfits. A sleeper cell is a group of highly motivated, trained, armed terrorists with a well-defined track record of terrorist activities.

"A sleeper cell is allowed to hibernate so that a bigger attack is carried out while the focus of the intelligence agencies and the security forces remains on those cadres of terror outfits who are active in a specific area."

terrorist Army in Pahalgam.Wikimedia Commons

A sleeper cell is trained to come back from the rear with an absolute element of surprise to carry out its task.

"In sharp contrast to this, the hybrid or part-time terrorist is not an armed cadre. Such a terrorist is given a weapon, most likely a pistol to kill an unprotected, soft target."

The movements of the unprotected target are carefully monitored by an OGW who passes on all the relevant information to the hybrid terrorist. The OGW overlooks the attack carried out by the hybrid.

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"Once the attack is successful, the OGW takes the weapon back and leaves the hybrid terrorist to return to his otherwise normal life," a senior official of the security forces said.

The officer said in almost all such cases, parents and other members of the hybrid's immediate family may not know about the role and involvement of the part-time terrorist.

Security forces believe that the level of indoctrination is good enough for the hybrid terrorist to attack a soft, unarmed target.

"The motivation and weapon handling capacity of the hybrid is just good enough to pick a soft target, but such a terrorist is not motivated enough to become a suicide bomber or take on the security forces in a one-on-one engagement," said another officer. (IANS/KB)


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