August 2000 News

Jammu And Kashmir Militants Plan Strikes During Vajpayee''s U.S. Visit

30 August 2000
The Hindu

New Delhi: Security agencies apprehend strikes by militants in Jammu and Kashmir following intelligence inputs that groups, mainly the Pakistan-supported Lashkar-e-Taiba(LET), might indulge in killings during the visit of the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, to the U.S. Well-placed Government sources said the Lashkar-e- Taiba was working on a ''well-calibrated gameplan'' to resort to ''demonstrative killings'' on the lines of Chittisinghpura and Pahalgam and blame it on the security forces. The Government has sounded a note of high alert to the security forces and sensitised the Village Defence Committees (VDCs) to the designs of the militant groups. It has also appealed to people to remain vigilant. The sources said that a LET handout was reportedly in circulation in Srinagar and some other parts of the Valley, fueling fears that the security forces might indulge in killing of Kashmiris. The handout cautions people against killing by security men in order to get the LET declared a terrorist outfit. It lists some of the vulnerable areas in the State where killings could take place. These include Marmat, Thanala, Doda, Thakrai, Balesh, Gondo, Thatri, Mangner, Surankote, Mendar and Kalakote in the Rajouri-Poonch-Doda-Udhampur belt and Anantnag, Baramulla, Badgam and Pattan in the Valley. It is estimated that the LET has nearly 1,500 men, mostly Pakistanis and Afghanis, operating in the State. It is the second largest militant outfit in the State after the Hizb-ul- Mujahideen. The newly-formed Jaish-e-Mohammad, floated by Maulana Masood Azhar, also has nearly 100 to 200 cadres active in the Valley. In the aborted ceasefire scenario, the security forces have kept up their offensive against militants though August has turned out to be a bloodiest month in the recent times. While the security forces lost 263 personnel this year till August 15, they killed about a 1000 militants. During the corresponding period last year 190 security personnel and 760 militants were killed.


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