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Peace interrupted

india Updated: May 12, 2008 23:01 IST

Hindustan Times
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The weekend terror that visited the border town of Samba in Jammu suggests a sense of desperation among militant groups to somehow keep the pot boiling in J&K. From all accounts, the militants infiltrated from Pakistan along the International Border (IB) and struck the village, taking several people hostage. The villagers alerted security forces stationed nearby and in the ensuing gunbattle, four people, including a photojournalist, were killed and several others injured. This is the first major terrorist strike in Jammu since 2002 and it breaks a period of relative calm that saw a decline in violence.

Given that militants had never targeted this region in the last six years, the latest attack could indicate that insurgents are trying to open new fronts outside the Valley. Only last week, the Border Security Force (BSF) thwarted an attempt by a large group of extremists to infiltrate across the 190-km International Border from Pakistan. It is not unusual for militants to sneak into Indian territory once the snow starts to melt. And it is not unusual either this time of year for terrorists to try and disrupt the Amarnath Yatra, which begins next month. As is evident from recent attacks in J&K and elsewhere in the country, training camps for militants continue to exist on Pakistan’s side of the Line of Control. The ruling coalition in Islamabad is made up of political opportunists, and is obviously not keen to rein in these jehadi terrorists. Maintaining the current lull in suicide terrorism inside Pakistan is probably a more immediate objective for them. As a result, they are not in a position — wittingly or unwittingly — to fashion a coherent strategy to control their terrorist exports across the border. This has left infiltration levels into J&K almost unchanged in the past two years.

This is unacceptable to India. New Delhi should take this up with Islamabad when External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee visits Pakistan later this month for a review of the four-year-old peace dialogue between the two countries.