March 2002 News

Recruitment of local youths stopped terrorists torch houses to accomplish designs

10 March 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: As part of a their deep rooted conspiracy, foreign mercenaries active in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri have been burning some selective houses in far-flung areas in these districts. For the last two months, terrorists active in these two districts have torched as many as 50 houses. Highly placed defence sources said that terrorist have developed hide-outs in number of houses located in the upper-reaches of Poonch and Rajouri districts. Located in the inaccessible areas, terrorists have developed full-fledged hide-outs in these houses. ''These houses are not only used as just transit camps but these hide-outs were stored also with ration and other eatable items'', sources disclosed and pointed towards a house burnt by the terrorist at Surankote area of Poonch district. Sources said that a large quantity of ration and dry fruits were found burnt in the house which indicate that terrorists had stored these items there. Sources said that there were two main reasons behind attempt of the terrorists to burn houses- first to destroy their hide-outs and secondly to get compensation from the authorities. ''Usually terrorists take shelter in the natural caves during winter season but this year they have come down in scattered hamlets and mixed with local people to befool the security forces'', sources said, adding, ''following increasing pressure of the forces, terrorists hiding among local population have started deserting these places''. ''For the last one and half month, terrorists have torched as many as 50 houses in the far-flung areas of Poonch and Rajouri districts'', sources said, adding, ''initially we thought that burning of houses is new tactics of terrorists to terrorise the people but after thorough investigations it has been found that houses burnt by terrorists are either their hide-outs or transit camps''. Sources further said that forces have been exerting pressure on the terrorists active in these twin districts that was why they have been deserting these areas. ''While deserting these areas, terrorists have been torching the places where they were hiding so that forces could not get any clue about their presence'', sources said and added that besides wiping out sign of their presence, terrorists with the help of Over Ground Workers (OGWs) were also trying to get compensation from the authorities for the torched houses. Defence sources, however, said that local youth were fed up with terrorism and there was no fresh recruitment. Sources said ''for the last three months not even a single local youth has joined rank and file of terrorist out- fits voluntarily but forcible recruitment has been going on unabated''. Atrocities committed by the foreign terrorists on the innocent people, including women and children, have forced the local youth to rethink about their role in committing these heinous acts, which have been dubbed as ‘Jehad’ by pan-Islamic groups. ''Terrorists are not only kidnapping youth at gun point but also threatening families of the kidnapped youth not to lodge complaints with police regarding missing of their children'', sources said. Sources further said that it was part of the pan-Islamic groups’ strategy to intensify forcible recruitment of local youth. ''Though recruitment on gun point started very much with the commencement of militancy in the State but it has been intensified during the last two months'', sources said.


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