Pakistan-based terror groups shift focus from Valley to Rajouri, Poonch - Hindustan Times
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Pakistan-based terror groups shift focus from Valley to Rajouri, Poonch

May 06, 2023 12:52 AM IST

K Rajendra, former DGP of Jammu and Kashmir, said the spike in terror activities in Rajouri and Poonch could be attributed to the G20 summit meets. Pakistan has terrorism as its state policy to foment trouble in the region, he added

A multitude of factors, including a change in Pakistan’s strategy and lesser presence of security forces, are claimed to be the reasons behind the spike in terrorism in the twin border districts of Jammu and Kashmir -- Rajouri and Poonch -- in the past two years.

A multitude of factors, including a change in Pakistan’s strategy and lesser presence of security forces, are claimed to be the reasons behind the spike in terrorism in the twin border districts of Jammu and Kashmir -- Rajouri and Poonch -- in the past two years. (ANI)
A multitude of factors, including a change in Pakistan’s strategy and lesser presence of security forces, are claimed to be the reasons behind the spike in terrorism in the twin border districts of Jammu and Kashmir -- Rajouri and Poonch -- in the past two years. (ANI)

K Rajendra, former DGP of Jammu and Kashmir, said, “In my opinion, the spike in terror activities in Rajouri and Poonch could be attributed to the G20 summit meets. Pakistan has terrorism as its state policy to foment trouble in the region.”

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“Over the past few years, presence of security forces has also been diminishing in the area. We should not forget the fact that both the districts are close to the Line of Control,” he added.

The former DGP said though the population of Rajouri and Poonch is largely patriotic, the presence of overground workers, who provide terrorists with logistics, is also among the major factors behind the spike in terrorism in the region.

An army official, who wished not to be named, said, “In the past three decades, security forces have contained terrorism in Kashmir and brought it to almost zero, especially after the revocation of Article 370, but at the same time south of Pir Panjal has been witnessing a surge in terror activities.”

“In the past two years, we have lost nearly two dozen soldiers in terror attacks and other activities in both the districts,” he said, adding that perpetrators of twin Dhangri attacks and terror strikes at an army camp’s gate and Bhata Dhurian still remain at large.

The Line of Control lies to the west of Rajouri, north of Poonch, east of Reasi and south of Jammu district.

“A number of villages lie between the Indian fence and the Zero Line along the 225km-long LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts, where presence of sleeper cells of various terror outfits, including narco-smugglers, remains no secret,” the army official said.

Rajouri district is largely inhabited by Gujjars, Bakarwals and Paharis. At 6.42 lakh, Muslims comprise 63% population of the district, while Hindus constitute nearly 35%.

South of Pir Panjal range, where Rajouri and Poonch districts lie, has a hilly terrain spread over 4,304 square kilometres with the Line of Control meandering along the two border districts that till date remains the most preferred route of infiltration for Pakistani terrorists.

Brijmohan Sharma, a government teacher from Bal Jarallan village, claimed, “Army in the past two years has trimmed the deployment of its men in both the districts, while Pakistan has apparently changed its strategy which now focuses more on Rajouri and Poonch than Kashmir.”

Sharma attributed the shift in Pakistan’s strategy to its attempts to trigger ethnic cleansing of minorities from the south of Pir Panjal.

“Militancy started rearing its ugly head in Rajouri and Poonch districts in 2020, but the administration overlooked it and today, terrorists are roaming around in the jungles of Rajouri and Poonch, which has natural caves that provide them safe haven,” he added.

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