Security in Jammu Kashmir bolstered before move
The Indian Army along the western border were put on high alert.Updated: Aug 06, 2019 01:19 IST
Connecting every official in Jammu and Kashmir through a satellite link and putting the military on high alert along the western and northern borders of India were part of a meticulous plan that New Delhi devised before effectively revoking Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and proposing the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories on Monday.
The satellite phone link ensured that key officials, down to the district level, were available to receive instructions and pass on orders even after communication network in the Valley was snapped. Communication network were taken off the hook on Sunday night, hours before the Centre’s big announcement. The decision to snap the network was taken to prevent people from gathering and “rumours” being spread.
The Indian Army along the western border were put on high alert. “We had war-gamed the situation as late as last year,” a senior military officer who did not want to be named said. “Things had been worked out to the last detail, taking into account the possible reaction within and outside,” he added.
Every formation along the border is closely watching out for “unusual signals” along the Line of Control and the International Border, another senior military officer who did not want to be named.
Adding to the muscle of the military, the Centre has moved about 30,000 personnel from paramilitary forces into the Valley with the help of heavy transporters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) over the past week. In all, when Union home minister Amit Shah walked into Parliament on Monday, there were over 50,000 troops, in addition to the troops normally positioned in the Valley.
The extra troops rushed to the Valley over the last three weeks helped in thinly policed regions. “Areas around Dachigam, Pattan, Palalan, Gurez and Sopore, especially the higher reaches, have a thin deployment; extra boots helped in consolidating, “ a third official said. Extra troops also ensured that people could not move from the hinterland towards towns or Srinagar for protests.
Separately, the Indian Air Force, especially the Western Air Command, was on a state of readiness. “The IAF was on highest possible alert,” a fourth official said. Fighters in different bases were ready to take-off on at the shortest notice, he said.
Also, the focus was also on ensuring that the Jammu and Kashmir police was under the operational control of the central forces – a move that was perhaps aimed at better coordination.