What makes Jammu’s Rajouri a terror hotspot | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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What makes Jammu’s Rajouri a terror hotspot

Nov 24, 2023 07:00 AM IST

The former DGP added that when cornered by security forces , terrorists can either shift to other side of the Pir Panjal into South Kashmir or even cross the LoC to return to Pakistan.

The two border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu, south of the Pir Panjal, and especially the former, have become a hotspot for Pakistan-sponsored terrorism for the past 25 months (since October 2021), a period in which they have seen nine major attacks, resulting in the deaths of eight terrorists, 29 security personnel and nine civilians.

Security personnel standing guard during an encounter with terrorists in the Baji Maal area of Rajouri district.(PTI)
Security personnel standing guard during an encounter with terrorists in the Baji Maal area of Rajouri district.(PTI)

Security experts attribute the spike in terror attacks on security forces and civilians to a multitude of factors -- the hilly topography of Rajouri and Poonch, their proximity to the Line of Control, the presence of traditional and easier infiltration routes compared to those in the Kashmir division of the UT, and the fact that it has a profusion of dense jungles and natural caves.

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They also point to the larger gameplan of the Pakistani handlers of these terrorists -- an attempt to target Hindus in the hills of Jammu and force their migration; and an effort aimed at forcing security forces to move units to Jammu, thereby thinning their presence in Kashmir.

READ | Rajouri encounter: 1 more soldier dies, toll goes up to 5, LeT terrorist killed

Former director general of Jammu and Kashmir Police, SP Vaid, who came up with the idea of village defence committees as the first line of defence said, “Rajouri-Poonch actually have been activated for the last one and a half years because of their proximity to the LoC”.

“The LoC here is easier to infiltrate rather than Kashmir region where the border gets covered by snow during the winters. Once inside, the terrorists have a lot of places like natural hideouts and big boulders in dense forest areas.“

The former DGP added that when cornered by security forces , terrorists can either shift to other side of the Pir Panjal into South Kashmir or even cross the LoC to return to Pakistan.

READ | 2 Captains, 2 soldiers killed in J&K gunfight

On January 1 and 2, Pakistani terrorists killed seven members of the Hindu community that included a four year old boy and a 16 year old girl in Dhangri village in Poonch.

Former deputy chief of the Army Staff and former DG Infantry, Lt Gen JS Cheema, who served in Jammu and Kashmir during his 38 years of service in the army, said, “they (Pakistan) keep changing their tactics. Rajouri was been inactive for quite some time (in terms of terror attacks) and that inactivity may have made security forces complacenct.”

“They exploited the situation . The recent terror incidents indicate that they are reactivating Rajouri now,” he added

Rajouri is a transit route to Kashmir, the general explained, adding that mountain passes get closed during winters in Kashmir and the focus shifts to easier terrain such as in Rajouri.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    A principal correspondent, Ravi Krishnan Khajuria is the bureau chief at Jammu. He covers politics, defence, crime, health and civic issues for Jammu city.

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