September 1999 News


Infiltration in J&K continues despite preventive measures

22 September 1999
Daily Excelsior

KUPWARA: Infiltration of Pakistan backed militants, including foreign mercenaries, from across the Line of Control (LoC) continues to take place in Jammu and Kashmir despite the best efforts of Army to check it.

"The infiltration graph did go up during Operation Vijay as Pakistan after having been pushed out of Kargil wanted to do something different and it did so by pushing infiltrators during the operation," Maj General Vinay Gopal Patankar, General Officer Commanding 28 Infantry Division told here recently.

Admitting that reduction of troops from the area and their diversion to Kargil helped Pakistan to push more infiltrators to give new lease of life to the dwindling militancy in the state, Maj Gen Patankar said the enemy activities increased along the LoC during Operation Vijay.

"The reduction of some troops and their diversion to Kargil encouraged Pakistan to push maximum infiltrators during the first half of summer which now is being checked up and Army has achieved success in this direction," he said.

Brigadier JS Rajal, who commands Trehgam area of Kupwara, just 12 kms away from the LoC, said "inspite of all deployment some infiltration takes place in view of topography of the terrain and Army is involved in checking it."

On the presence of militants in Kupwara, Maj Gen Patankar said "it is difficult to say how many militants, including mercenaries, are active in the area but as per our estimates the figure varies from 100 to 150 in the entire district of Kupwara."

But unofficial estimates put the militants around 2,000 in Kupwara alone. Most of them are Pakistani and Afghan cadres of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami and Mujahideen-e-Albadr.

Maj Gen Patankar said unofficial figure of militants presence in the area was "exaggerated" but Kupwara has been "a transit area for militants."

"The Rajwar area in Kupwara is a transit area and there is floating sort of population where they (militants) move to the rest of Kashmir." he said.

The Army officer said soldiers were engaged in checking infiltration and counter-insurgency operation and to their efforts Army has achieved success as the level of infiltration at present has come down and has eliminated 40 foreign militants in last two months in the district alone.

"Unlike the deployment along the Line of Control, which is dictated more or less by the geography the deployment of the security force to conduct anti-proxy war operation is a dynamic one and keeps changing to take on militants and check their activities," Maj Gen Patankar said.

Asked to comment on recent attacks on security camps in Kashmir, Maj Gen Patankar said "the attack on Check-Natnusa in Kupwara was an abberation while the rest were just stand off as firing a rocket on general direction of Army Camp from a distant range can hardly be termed an attack."

He said the local population have been disillusioned with the militants and it had been through their cooperation that huge cache of arms and ammunition had been unearthed and militants killed in counter-insurgency operations.

"During night, militants seek shelter or food in the hamlets which has put lot of stress on civilians and they (locals) have got disillusioned with the militants as they (militants) demand things at gun-point," he said.

Meanwhile, additional security forces have been deployed in the district and coordination among Army, paramilitary forces and state police beefed up as part of fresh offensive to deal with fresh infiltration and insurgency in the area. (PTI)

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