Security forces in Kashmir have been put on high alert as militants have been planting locally made Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on roads in an attempt to repeat a Pulwama-like attack.
The IEDs are being planted on roads frequently used by security forces. According to a police official, forces during a routine patrolling at Sempora in Pampore on 14 November found an IED planted on the road. A bomb disposal squad was called in to defuse the IED, which was made by fitting a pressure cooker with “urea fertiliser and a detonator” as per a police official.
He added that what made the forces raise their alert level was that the device was planted in the vicinity of a security camp and militants had earlier targetted forces in the area. In the government-run Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI), which also lies nearby, five personnel were killed when militants remained holed inside the multi-storey building in July 2018.
Two IEDs were also detected recently from under a culvert in Qazigund area of southern Kashmir after forces received a tip-off that militants had rigged one of the roads with explosives. The device was also fitted in a pressure cooker and could have been triggered using a remote control, said an official. The device was planted on one of the internal roads which connects to the main highway.
Ravideep Sahai, Inspector General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), said the “IEDs are being locally assembled by the militants.” “The IEDs can have an impact on the level of the 14 February attack,” he added.
Responsibility for the Lethpora attack on the CRPF on the outskirts of Srinagar city, which triggered an aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan fighter planes, was claimed by the militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
In June, militants targetted an army vehicle with an IED at Arihal in Pulwama, injuring at least nine. An army vehicle was also damaged in an IED attack in August at Pulwama.
The use of IEDs has picked up for the past few weeks even as near normalcy has returned to Kashmir with shops and business establishments opening, although the business hub of Lal Chowk remains closed during the day. Police said militants have now begun to reappear after the resumption of post-paid mobile services. They added that only 5 to 6 local youths picked up arms since the revocation of Article 370 on 5 August.
Police further said one of the two militants killed during a late evening encounter on 25 November with the forces at Pacchar area of southern Kashmir was also involved in assembling and planting the IEDs. An associate of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo, the militant identified as Irfan Ahmad Shiekh of Pulwama's Naira area was active since 2016, a police official said. The militants were fired upon by forces and killed in an orchard after forces laid an ambush in the area.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Pulwama, Chandan Kohli, said one of the militants killed in Pulwama was responsible for planting IEDs and targetting the forces. A police statement said that in the encounter between the police and the forces at Pachaar Rajpora area of Pulwama, two militants were killed. While the statement identified one of the militants as Irfan Ahmad Sheikh another was identified as Irfan Ahmad Rather of Litter, Pulwama. The statement further added that both militants were involved in several attacks on the forces. It added that Sheikh was involved in a weapon-snatching incident and that arms and ammunition were also recovered from the encounter site.
On 14 February, at least 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in an attack in Pulwama, which increased tensions between India and Pakistan.
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Updated Date: Nov 30, 2019 16:24:25 IST