Infiltration attempts surge, alert sounded near border in J-K
Guns are booming on the Line of Control, with infiltration attempts surging to an all-time high since the nullification of Article 370, which conferred special status on Jammu and Kashmir, by Parliament on August 5 and 6.
“Launch pads are full to their capacities. Attempts are being made day and night to infiltrate. These are being effectively neutralized and have resulted in injuries, death of terrorists and recovery of weapons,” Lt Gen KJS Dhillon, Corps Commander, 15 Corps, told HT.
There hasn’t been a single day when infiltration hasn’t been attempted, he said.
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Pakistan has openly declared that it will do all it can to help the Kashmiris.Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and its powerful army chief, General Qamar Bajwa, have offered open support to the Kashmiris since the nullification of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Infiltration had come down in May and June, when Pakistan hoped that the re-election of the Narendra Modi government would pave the way for a dialogue. The launch pads along the line of control had also been emptied of all terrorists in end-July, ahead of Imran Khan’s visit to Washington, where he met the US President Donald Trump.
The LoC is now a live wire and according to estimates by security agencies, 300 to 350 terrorists are waiting to enter Jammu and Kashmir. According to intelligence estimates, 40 to 50 Pakistani terrorists have managed to sneak in, in the last two weeks alone.
Ceasefire violations are also at an all-time high and army officials said, on condition of anonymity, that there are up to 10 violations every day. The Pakistan army often opens cover fire to help terrorists infiltrate.
“Pakistan is making all attempts to disrupt peace in the Valley. It is also misusing social media to create disturbances in Kashmir,’’ Dhillon said.
The Valley has been under a virtual lockdown since August 5, with restrictions on public movement and telephone and Internet communications that are only now being used. The worry in the security establishment is that with political leaders and separatists under arrest, the vacuum is being filled by militants.
“The Kashmiris are angry and looking to Pakistan. Foreign terrorists are hardened mercenaries and have the capacity to trigger violence,’’ said a security official.
There are reports of local Kashmiri militants roaming villages with guns. The pairing of these militants with foreign terrorists is a cause of worry.
The months preceding the nullification of Article 370 saw a dip in the number of locals joining the ranks of militancy and the security establishment succeed in getting active militants back.
That might change now, according to security officials. “There are no confirmed reports of locals joining militancy after August 5 but that is also because there is no access to the Internet. The youth used to post their pictures on social media to announce their militant status.”
Army chief General Bipin Rawat visited the Valley on Friday to take stock of the situation.
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