May 2000 News

Forces claim clinching proof of Pak hand in J&K Sikh massacre

1 May 2000
Hindustan Times
Anil Anand

New Delhi: SECURITY FORCES fighting militancy in the trouble-torn Kashmir Valley have seized clinching evidence of Pakistan''s hand in the massacre of 36 Sikhs in Chatti Singpora on March 21. According to Home Ministry sources here, a wireless communication intercepted by the intelligence agencies on April 29 has, for the first time, confirmed Pakistan''s involvement in the massacre. In a message sent to their masters in Pakistan, a Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) functionary expressed satisfaction on the successful completion of the ''mission'' while claiming that they had gunned down 36 persons and not 34 as claimed by Indian authorities. The tone and tenor of the intercept in which a mention of the visits by Home Minister L.K. Advani and Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to the affected village was also made, clearly suggested that the LeT-which consists predominantly of foreign mercenaries-was desperate to claim credit for the incident. ''Apart from this, we have successfully completed many small works as desired,'' the LeT message further stated. The ministry sources felt that contrary to earlier disclaimers from Pakistan about its involvement in Chatti Singpora incident, the LeT communication is a clear indicator not only of its involvement in the incident but also about the growing desperation among the militant outfits operating in the Valley and their masters across the border in view of changed scenario as a sequel to President Bill Clinton''s visit. While admitting that the Pakistan trained mercenaries were calling the shots in the Valley, the sources said that most of the local militant outfits have already become inactive. It could be gauged from the fact that out of 11 such outfits, only Hizbul Mujahiddin with a strength of 500 cadres is still active. Buttressing their point in regard to the foreign mercenaries'' involvement, the sources said that about 3500 to 3700 Pak trained foreigners were at present operating in the Valley. Their involvement has been confirmed in most of the incidents including Chatti Singpora, they claimed. Hinting at the strong possibility of more Pak trained militants sneaking into the Valley as most of the infiltration routes are snow bound during winters, the sources admitted that a tough summer could be ahead for the security forces. Reports reaching here from across the border suggest that a ''large number'' of militants were waiting to cross over, they added. Although there is no indication as yet of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference''s willingness to start a dialogue with the Government, speculation has caused panic among the ranks of militants.


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