The situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir remains tense and security has been stepped up after frequent exchange of gunfire between Pakistani and Indian troops.
The Indian Army has launched at least 350 operations in the past few weeks during which searches were carried at many places along the LoC while the troops also retaliated to the gunfire from Pakistani troops. Some groups of militants are also believed to have “sneaked in” amid the gunfire here, police officials said.
A senior army official said on the condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak to media, that “every night, there is an attempt being made by militants at more than one places to infiltrate into Kashmir".
Senior police officials said that while the movement of militants has been observed in many areas, the fresh batch of militants could have been active in forest ranges near the forward areas in northern Kashmir.
A senior army official said that situation along the LoC remained tense in the run up to the abrogation of Article 370, which scrapped the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir and allowed the non residents to buy land and property in the state. He said that the infiltration attempts had increased particularly in Gulmarg, Gurez and Kupwara areas of Kashmir in the recent past and the army had also apprehended two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants, who have revealed that the attempts were being made by the Pakistani army to push many militants into Kashmir.
There were reports that some groups of militants have sneaked in from the Gulmarg side. However, Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said that the situation at Gulmarg as well as elsewhere along the LoC was “under control”. A senior army official however said, “The LoC had become active a week ahead of the scrapping of the Article 370.”
The security in the state was stepped up ahead of the revocation of the special status of the state and a string of orders were issued by the state administration that asked officials to maintain a state of alert. “Between the last week of July and till 5 August, we foiled at least two infiltration bids in Gurez and Keran sector. We killed three militants in Gurez and between five to seven militants in Keran. The aerial shots of the bodies of the militants who were killed in Gurez were also taken,” said the army official.
Police officials said that while the militant activities have stepped up along the LoC in Kashmir, the number of anti-militancy operations in the hinterland have declined. Besides an anti-militancy operation that was launched in Baramulla area of northern Kashmir last month, officials said that a cordon and search operation (CASO) was launched in Central Kashmir area of Ganderbal today, in which one Army soldier died.
The Army said in a statement that a soldier, Aslam Khan, died in Ganderbal after he fell into the river during a CASO there. “Aslam Khan was a part of the cordon and search operation team when he slipped and fell into the river. He was rescued by his team and evacuated to nearest medical inspection room, but he succumbed to his injuries,” said the Army in a statement. It added that the 39-year old had joined the Army in the 2000 and was from village Ransar of Churu district in Rajasthan and is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.
A senior police official however said that the decline in the number of anti-militancy operations “was on account of disruption of the communication network” as well as the militants adopting a strategy not to attack forces. He, however, didn’t rule out the possibility of militants trying to pull off a big militant attack in Kashmir on the “scale and intensity” of the one which was triggered in February this year at Lethpora in Pulwama, which killed 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The paramilitary personnel were killed as a vehicle laden with explosives rammed into a bus that was a part of the convoy which was making way to Srinagar from Jammu. “The snapping of mobile phones has disrupted the flow of information about the presence of militants,” said a police official.
Although the government has said that no untoward incident was reported since the unrest began in the state on 5 August, the markets and business establishments in Kashmir remain shut while the anti-India protests have continued at several places. At least three people have died in the current phase of unrest with no word from the government about the restoration of landlines or mobile phones as well as the internet services.
Hundreds of people including several mainstream politicians have been arrested here since over a month. Among those facing detention are former chief ministers Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti, while several separatists are also under house arrest or remain under detention.
Updated Date: Sep 08, 2019 00:30:37 IST