October 1999 News


New strategies to fight militancy in J&K

31 October 1999
The Hindu
By Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: With militancy resurfacing in this border Sate, particularly after the Kargil intrusion, the Centre has evolved new strategies to fight in out. Setting up of new military Corps in Ladakh and two divisions in Kashmir and Jammu divisions are among the steps taken to strengthen security.

Concerned over the "revival of militancy, the Government has been trying to plug the loopholes during the Kargil conflict to overcome the shortcomings rather than experimenting new theories. Deinduction of large number of troops had not only helped infiltrators but also enabled the militants to expand their activities. The storming of a number of camps in the border district of Kupwara and the recent grenade attack on the Secretariat in Srinagar in which three employees were killed have confirmed the surge in militant activities.

Police authorities, who have been dismissing these incidents as stray ones, admit that there was a security lapse. The ruling National Conference activists are the main targets after the security forces.

Despite all this the Government has started revamping the entire security set up with more deployments and creations. Only a few months ago an independent Corps was set up for Ladakh region. Earlier, the part of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, the entire zone down the Zojila Top to the Siachen Glacier on other side will be looked after by this new Corps. This will enable broader and effective concentration on borders, says a senior defence official. This will help the 15 Corps to check the infiltration more effectively in other parts.

With the creation of new Corps, the Government also did away with the temporary arrangement of shifting of the Directorate General of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) to Srinagar and making its DG as the new security adviser to the State Government. The Corps commanders of Jammu and Srinagar have been functioning as security advisers to the Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah.

The absence of 8 Mountain Division located at Shariefabad in Srinagar and shifted to Drass during the Kargil conflict gave militants a chance to stage a come back. This was replaced by a new division called Kilo Force with Major General Nirbhay Sharma, as the General Officer commanding.

He had served in the Directorate General of military operations at the Army headquarters. The Kilo Force has since become active in north Kashmir with the Victor force already in action in the southern part of the valley.

Another division called Romeo Force, has been set up at Rajouri in Jammu to curb militancy in the Rajouri-Poonch sector. Tackling the militancy in the area is more difficult given the topography and the hilly terrain with close proximity to the Line of Control.

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