February 2000 News

Spurt in Militancy Linked to Kargil War

27 February 2000
Binoo Joshi

Jammu: The recent spurt of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir has its roots in Kargil conflict last year when a large number of militants and Pakistani Army regulars are believed to have melted into various parts of the State. The State has witnessed steep rise in militancy related violence since Kargil conflict last year. They have stepped up their attacks on security forces, raiding their camps, laying ambushes and planting landmines. During the Kargil operation last year the intelligence agencies had sounded alert that a large number of militants and Pakistani regulars, who had intruded into Kargil sector, had sneaked into various parts of Kashmir valley and also to adjoining Doda district. They gradually melted into different parts of the State perpetrating largescale violence. Their main targets are now security forces, who have suffered considerable losses in this recent rise in militancy. The attacks on the security personnel and camps demoralised the forces who had no choice but to be on defensive and on the guard. According to the official sources, the reins of militancy went into the hands of foreign militants, mostly Afghans and Pakistanis. ''Their fighting techniques and expertise show that they are no ordinary militants who have received small training in militant camps,'' remarked a senior Army official. The majority of the killed militants are also identified as Pakistanis or Afghans. The series of attacks by these ''foreigners on the security forces also rejuvenated the local Kashmiri militants who had become dormant as the ''people turned against militancy''. The militants are now using landmines increasingly as this technique helps them to avoid direct confrontation and hence inflicts more casualties on the security forces. The official estimates put the figure of militants and Pakistani regulars who sneaked into the State during and after the Kargil operation to around 500. Then the vacuum created by the withdrawal of Army from the internal security to the frontiers during Kargil also helped these intruders to establish themselves at strategic points of the State. The porous border in Jammu region and also the Line of Control have provided shot in the arm for these militants to carry out their activities and run away back to Pakistan. According to official sources, the militants and also the ISI agents keep coming and going from these traditional infiltration routes, to provide logistic support to step up militancy. The security officials link the recent rise in acts of militants to forthcoming visit of United State President Bill Clinton to India in March this year. These officials said, ''Pakistan will try everything possible to step up violence in the State before President Clinton comes to India. The security forces in the State have been alerted on this account. The Home Ministry team visited the State recently to take stock of the situation and take appropriate measures. The Army has also been put on the high alert following reports that Pakistan would try to escalate tension along the border and Line of Control.


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