April 2002 News

4,000 militants ready to cross over to J-K

6 April 2002
The Indian Express

Srinagar: About 4,000 militants in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are waiting for the snow to melt on the mountain passes along the Line of Control (LoC) to cross over to Kashmir for stepping up violence during the coming Assembly elections, a senior police official said on Saturday. Conservative estimates put the number of militants awaiting to grab the first opportunity to infiltrate into Kashmir between 3,000 to 4,000, inspector general of police, Kashmir, K Rajendra, told reporters in Srinagar. Extremists are after soft targets, killing political workers, especially of ruling National Conference, to create fear among the people so as to keep them away from the electoral process, he said. With Assembly elections scheduled for September October, militants have clear instructions to target political activists to keep common people away from the electoral process, he said. Six NC activists fell to the bullets of militants in the valley in the past two weeks. Claiming that security situation in the valley was ''very much under control'', Rajendra said 270 militants, mostly foreigners, were shot dead in the first three months of the current year as against 160 during the same period last year. Police and security forces suffered heavy casualties last year because of the ceasefire announced by the Centre and stopping of anti- militant operations by security agencies. Terming the change in Pakistan as ''cosmetic'', he said foreign militants operating in the valley have been told that whatever action Pakistan government has taken against their leaders was ''temporary''.


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