The Army on Saturday produced before the media an arrested Pakistani militant who it said recently infiltrated into the Valley and was apprehended from the Shamsabari border area of north Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference at the 15 Corps headquarters, Brigadier General Staff Gurmit Singh said the latest infiltration took place in Gurez in the north. Information on it was provided by captured militant Saqib Moinullah Shah, a Hizb-ul Mujahideen operative.
Shah was part of a 120-strong group with 31 militants and porters, guides and snow-beaters making up the rest. He was caught while trying to return to Pakistan. “Thirty-one militants infiltrated to this side of the Line of Control,” Singh said.
Shah, who looked to be in his early 20s, said: “We were a group of 120, including 31 militants from the Hizb-ul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Pir Panjal Rangers who crossed to this side of the LoC to take part in jihad (holy war),” he said.
He said he was from the North-West Frontier Province and had been trained in Mansera.
Singh said this was the second major incident of infiltration after last month’s Hafruda gunbattle. “Of the 21 militants who sneaked in from Hafruda and the 31 in the current bid, we have eliminated 32,” he said, adding that the combing operation is still on and the remaining militants have been localised. “You will see results in the coming days.”
The brigadier said the infiltration was despite the presence of 6 to 48 feet of snow. “The wire obstacles get buried in the snow, helping militants cross over. Some are even drugged and pushed to this side. A large number is waiting on the other side to cross over,” he claimed.
The possibility of the Taliban making their way into India also cropped up but Shah dismissed this, saying: “The Taliban don’t come here. They go to Afghanistan.”
The army showed the media the huge amount of arms and ammunition it had recovered on the basis of information provided by Shah. There were 10 AK-47s, 13,000 AK-47 rounds, five grenade launchers, 480 grenades and 32 kilograms of explosives.