August 2001 News

Army encourages surrender as Pakistan pushes in militants

21 August 2001
The Hindustan Times
Sumir Kaul

New Delhi: Pakistan has been of late making desperate attempts to push in armed Kashmiri youths into Jammu and Kashmir to give ''indigenous colour'' to militancy in the state, official sources said here on Tuesday. After Islamabad''s claim at Agra summit that the Kashmiris were fighting their battle, Pakistan was now pushing in Kashmiri militants, who had been ''enjoying'' ISI patronage in camps located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), they said. The sources said that nearly 1000 Kashmiri youths, who had been residing in camps located at Muzzafarabad, Bagh and Kotli for the last five years, were being pushed through difficult terrains like Digwar in Poonch, Keri in Rajouri of Jammu region, Razdan Pass in Gurez sector and Kupwara and Handwara sector of Kashmir region and Drass and Batalik region. Pakistan has been pushing militants through these sectors only despite being aware that these passes had an effective mechanism of patrolling by Indian Army, they said, adding that the intentions of ISI were clear that it wanted these youths to suffer in encounters at the Line of Control (LoC) so that Islamabad could project the incidents as an indigenous struggle. However, the Army at the LoC was working on surrender of Kashmiri youths following which some of them had surrendered and handed over their arms to Army immediately after crossing over. Following this new strategy by Pakistan, border skirmishes had increased especially after August 15 and Islamabad''s repeated attempts at digwar in Poonch and Keri sector in Rajouri have been repulsed besides inflicting heavy casualties on Pakistani army, the sources said. The ISI has also been worried due to the reverses suffered by militants in the last three months and were making attempts to regain the lost ground and public support, the sources said quoting the confessions of militants arrested or surrendered. The militants had said that ISI had conveyed to them that ''it was time for them to go back as they will have no more fun and frolic in Muzzafarabad,'' the sources said.


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