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Infiltration, gunfights with army back in vogue

india Updated: Aug 27, 2008 23:24 IST
Arun Joshi & Alok Tikku
Arun Joshi & Alok Tikku
Hindustan Times
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The situation in Jammu and Kashmir seems increasingly to be a repeat of the pre-November, 2003 ceasefire days, with infiltration bids across the LoC on the rise under fire cover provided by the Pakistani troops.

The political instability in Pakistan and the current religious and regional divide in Jammu and Kashmir have proved to be a lethal combination, as the hawks in the Pakistani army and the ISI could gain ground in the Valley in such a situation.

Today's terror strike in Jammu in which four, including a Junior Commissioned Officer, have been killed so far could have been planned to disrupt a rally by Shri Amaranth Sangarsh Samiti this afternoon. The rally has been cancelled after the administration informed the Samiti about the security situation.

A Home Ministry official said in New Delhi that it was not immediately clear whether the three militants were targeting the particular area in Chinore or panicked at the check post and opened fire. “Our understanding is that this was the same group that infiltrated early on Monday morning,” a senior official said.

There have been three major infiltration incidents since the Amarnath land row and 48 incidents since January this year. But this is lower than the 72 attempts last year due to tighter border security arrangements.

“Security forces have been on a high alert all through this year as there was an assessment that infiltration attempts would increase because of the elections to the J&K assembly,” the official said.

Such an attack could also have provoked communal backlash, too. “This infiltration and the attacks prove that the mindset of Pakistanis remained unchanged,” observed K. Rajendra Kumar, Inspector general of Police, Jammu zone, who has been dealing with militancy since 1990.

Lt Gen. Mukesh Sabharwal, General officer commanding of the 15 corps in the Kashmir Valley, said in an interview with Hindustan Times that the terrorists “would use unconventional methods to infiltrate from across the LoC this year to escalate violence to cause disruption in polls.”

The terrorists are using sophisticated equipment to cut barbed-wire fences and scaling the fence using special training. Even during heavy snowfall, they scale the high walls of snow to cross over to this side of the border.