Trained terrorists waiting at the India-Pakistan border in a bid to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir have been forced to retreat after punitive firing by the Border Security Force (BSF), a senior official told HT.
Firing along the border has ebbed after a recent flare-up, but the BSF and army continue to be on high alert as the terrorists are making a desperate attempt at infiltrating into Indian territory before the winter sets in and mountain passes get snow-bound.
“We targeted important launching pads from where the terrorists are infiltrated into India. They have retreated after a solid pounding from us,’’ BSF director general DK Pathak told HT.
“Civilians on both sides have not yet returned to their homes and we are monitoring activity around well-known launching pads from where terrorists make infiltration bids,’’ he said.
Pathak said among the areas targeted by the BSF is Bada Masroor Bhai village in Pakistan which Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed visits often to motivate members of his battle action teams (BATs).
“The terrorists and the civilians have both retreated from the village and a deceptive calm prevails,” he said.
Members of the battle action teams work in close co-ordination with the Pakistan Rangers as well as the Pakistani Army and help them plant improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that often lead to the death of Indian soldiers. An Indian army jawan was killed in one such explosion last week in the Poonch sector.
The general-officer-in-command of 16 Corps, KH Singh, said the army’s quick reaction teams are moving from place to place on the Line of Control after Pakistan “upped the ante”.
Officials said trained militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen are given protection and food by the Pakistani army until they are sent across the Line of Control in batches of five to 10. In some cases, the Pakistan army also provides covering fire to the infiltrating parties.
“They are trained and armed by the state and even fire at patrol parties along the border. The line between state and non-state actors has blurred dangerously,’’ said an intelligence official.