June is usually the hottest month on the 740-kilometre Line of Control (LoC) as snow starts melting on the mountains dividing the Kashmir region, and the tracks become visible. But this year, a spike in gun battles between intruders and the Indian security forces, and an increasing cross-border activity in the first two weeks of the month have left many wondering if this could the worst months in terms of infiltration attempts in recent years.
Despite a steady effort by the Indian Army to curb infiltration and neutralise militants — including employing modern technology — before they reach the actual LoC, there has been no fall in infiltration attempts. Instead, they have only increased, not in just in Kashmir, but in the Pir Panjal range in Jammu, too.
“In the last 48 hours alone several infiltration attempts have been foiled in four sectors in Kashmir region, in which seven armed militants have been killed so far,” Colonel NN Joshi, PRO (Defence) based in Udhampur, said in a statement.
"These incidents were reported from Gurez, Machhil, Nowgam and Uri sectors. A large quantity of arms, ammunition and war-like stores have been recovered. Presently, operations are in progress in Machhil, Nowgam and Uri sectors,” the statement added. Joshi also said that the Pakistan Army posts along the LoC are assisting the militants to infiltrate into the Kashmir Valley.
As guns roared along the LoC, army chief General Bipin Rawat said in New Delhi that the condition in Kashmir will be normal soon.
But in the Nowgam sector of Kupwara, the Indian Army fought a fierce gun battle before neutralising two militants. One soldier also lost his life in the fight that started early morning Thursday.
Defence sources claim that there has been a surge in the activities of Pakistani Border Action Team (BAT) along the LoC not just in Kupwara area — which is prone to infiltration and remains hot throughout the year — but in Uri in north Kashmir as well, which has largely remained peaceful in recent years.
Barring a dramatic attack on an Indian Army base in the main town of Uri that left 19 soldiers and four attackers dead in September last year, few intrusions have been reported from the area. But on 26 May the Indian Army said that it had killed two Pakistani Border Action Team (BAT) members, who were trying to infiltrate into the Uri sector to carry out an attack on the soldiers.
"Six militants were killed in the same sector next day when they attempted to sneak into the Valley from across the border,” Indian Army spokesperson Rajesh Kalia had said.
Last month Firstpost had reported that security forces were expecting more encounters and gun fights in the Valley as militants, waiting across the LoC, gear up for the snow to melt so that they can infiltrate into the Valley
Lieutenant General JS Sandhu, Commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps had conformed it. He had said that there are more militants waiting at launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) facing the Kashmir Valley as well as in areas facing Poonch and Rajouri district in Jammu as well.
"About 150 militants are waiting near the LoC in PoK to sneak into the Valley,” Sandhu said.
This year, despite heavy snow and sloppy tracks and the use of modern technology to stop infiltrators, the Indian Army says 22 infiltration attempts have been foiled and 34 armed intruders have been eliminated on the LoC in the first six months.
“It is huge considering the amount of work that has gone into preventing infiltration in the last six months in the Valley,” a senior army official, told Firstpost in Srinagar.
“If you go by these numbers, the summer is going to be very hot on LoC this year,” he added.
Updated Date: Jun 08, 2017 20:59 PM