December 2002 News

''Suicide missions introduced to boost J&K terrorists'' morale''

1 December 2002
The Hindustan Times
Izhar Wani (Agence France-Presse)

Izhar Wani (Agence France-Presse)Srinagar: Terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir began sending followers on suicide missions three years ago as a tactic designed to boost morale, an official said on Saturday. ''The jihadi groups introduced suicide attacks in Jammu and Kashmir three years back to boost the morale of fresh recruits and old members,'' senior officer of Border Security Force (BSF), Rajinder Singh Bhullar, said. He said the attacks were being used by terrorist groups to ''indoctrinate fresh recruits.'' The Army defines a suicide strike as one where the attackers kill themselves, usually with explosives, to cause maximum casualties, or when the terrorists do not expect to come out of the attack alive. The strikes are usually by two or three heavily-armed terrorists who fire their way into security camps or other targets and engage troops in fierce encounters without leaving an escape route. Sometimes they are killed by security forces before they can use grenades to blow themselves up. The first suicide strike in the region was carried out by terrorists on July 13, 1999 at the BSF''s northern Kashmir headquarters. Six soldiers, including a senior officer were killed. It was followed by a series of similar attacks on other installations including Jammu and Kashmir''s Army headquarters, the state legislature building, the headquarters of the counter-insurgency police, high-security Srinagar airport and Army''s air-base in southern Kashmir. The latest suicide attack in the Kashmir valley was at a camp of state police in Srinagar on November 22 which killed six policemen. The two terrorists who carried out the attack were later shot dead. Bhullar, who heads the BSF''s intelligence wing in Kashmir valley, said 161 security force personnel had been killed in 55 such attacks in the Kashmir valley since 1999. The Army lost 82 men, while police and paramilitary forces together suffered 79 deaths. ''Ninety terrorists and almost an equal number of civilians have also died in these suicide strikes,'' he said. The deadliest strike was on October 1 last year at the state legislature when some 38 people, including government officials, security personnel and civilians, died. Police blamed the attack on hardline group Jaish-e-Mohammad. Jaish, and another frontline terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, were involved in a suicide attack on Parliament in New Delhi in December that left 14 dead, including five attackers. Both the groups were set up in Pakistan, but banned by Islamabad after the Parliament attack. Bhullar said out of the 55 suicide strikes since July 1999, 47 were launched by Lashkar-e-Taiba, six by Jaish-e-Mohammad and one each by terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. Bhullar said the Jammu region has witnessed 20 suicide strikes. The latest was earlier this month, when heavily-armed terrorists stormed into the Raghunath temple and a nearby temple in Jammu, sparking a gunbattle which left ten civilians and two policemen dead. The three terrorists were later killed by troops.


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