April 2000 News

Largest cache of arms uncovered in J&K in recent years

14 April 2000
Indian Express
Arun Sharma

Jammu: With the security forces and the police on a spree of unearthing arms and explosives dumps in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, US President Bill Clinton's visit to India seems to be showing the desired results in the militancy-infested Jammu and Kashmir. Sources have referred to the huge cache of missiles, mortar bombs, rockets and mines, among other deadly weapons, by the police and security forces in both the districts during the last few days. Only Wednesday, the Border Security Force recovered a six feet long re-coiless (RCL) gun among other things from a militant hideout in Dudasan Bala area of Rajouri district. Pointing out that the RCL gun was seized for the first time during the decade-long militancy in the state, a senior Army official said that the hideout was constructed under a hill and it had a passage connected to it through an almirah in an adjoining house. It was constructed so well that it was impossible to discern it from even inside the house. Apart from this, all the seizures included a number of missiles, universal machine guns (UMGs), anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, rockets, Pika guns, AK rifles and IEDs among other things. Most of these dumps were concealed in Sintex tanks buried underground. Sources attributed these recoveries to information provided by locals who have become increasingly disillusioned with the ISI and militants. The locals have provided information on militants earlier, but its flow has stepped up during the recent past, especially after the US President's visit. Elaborating, a senior Army officer said that Clinton's posture towards Pakistan during his visit to South Asia appears to have added to locals'' disillusionment. Already angered by atrocities committed by militants, more and more people have started coming out with information against them, he added. There have been numerous instances of militants raping the female members of the families who have harboured them, besides forcibly recruiting local youth into their ranks. Apart from this, the inter and intra gang rivalry between foreign and local militants for supremacy has also caused resentment among the local people. ''These dumps had been created by the ISI over a period of time with the purpose of maintaining arms and ammunition supply to militants even during maximum alert on the LoC,'' security forces officials said. Like the past, these arms and ammunition dumps would have remained unnoticed, but for the information provided by locals, they added. Admitting that dumps were the biggest ever seized by Army and security forces from a militant hideout on any single day for the past ten years, sources said that these have added a new dimensions to the ongoing militancy in the state. There are reports about ISI having more such arms and ammunition dumps at various places in Rajouri and Poonch districts. Massive searches by the security forces and police are going on at both the places, sources added.


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