The army in Kashmir blew the warning bugle on Monday saying it expects a rise in infiltration attempts over the next couple of months. This statement ends incoherence between the state government and the army over the issue of infiltration in the valley and brings both on the same page.
“We are fully prepared to foil infiltration attempts… So far five infiltration attempts had been foiled on the Line of Control and two terrorists killed. We expect a rise in infiltration attempts over the next couple of months,” said Kashmir’s strategic Chinar Corps General Officer Commanding (GOC) Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain.
The army’s infiltration apprehension was disclosed by Hasnain during an interaction programme with the locals of Beerwah in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday.
Hasnain’s statement has come in the backdrop of inconsistent statements made by chief minister Omar Abdullah and the army in the month of June this year.
Hasnain then resisted to buying the theory of growing militant infiltration attempts from across the Line of Control (LoC) by discarding the chief minister’s contention of 40 heavily-armed militants entering the state and hundreds waiting to sneak into the valley.
“There was no incident of infiltration and neither was there any gunfight on the Line of Control. These reports are concocted and baseless. This kind of baseless story appears in media in May and June every year presuming that militants may seize the opportunity to sneak in when the snow starts to melt,” said Hasnain immediately after Abdullah statement in June.
Monday’s statement by Husnain, however, has now both the army and the state government apprehensive of militant infiltration with snow melting from far-off peaks and tracks near the LoC. The GOC said there were 42 militant camps with approximately 700 militants still functioning across the border.
“We have given our views to the government (on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act). The consultative process is on and a sustained period of peace over the next few months will certainly be an important factor,” said Hasnain.
Reacting to the news report first published by the Hindustan Times on Hasnain among the first to buy recently launched hardline Hurriyat chairman Sayed Ali Shah Geelani’s autobiography, the GOC said: “There is no controversy in purchasing the book. Geelani is a buzurg (elderly man), who is espousing his ideas. As a professional, it is our duty to know the perceptions of various people, whether we agree with them or not.”
Meanwhile, the GOC has promised to look into inconvenience faced by Budgam locals in the army’s firing practice. “If possible, we will change the line of fire and also educate people regarding dangers of moving in Toshe-e-Maidan field during firing,” he said.