June 2003 News

Terrorists flee Hil Kaka; high alert sounded in J&K

22 June 2003
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust of India

New Delhi: Security agencies have warned of major terrorist offensives in Doda, Rajouri and Poonch areas of Jammu region and Shopian area of Kashmir valley as more than 90 per cent of terrorists hiding in Hil Kaka region are understood to have fled to these regions to escape Army's Operation 'Sarp Vinash'. According to sources in the Home Ministry, Intelligence agencies have submitted a report stating that several terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based outfits like Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and Hizbul Mujahideen escaped from Hil Kaka following the Army attack and fled to nearby Darhal, Thana Mandi in Rajouri and areas of Doda in Jammu region and to Shopian area in Kashmir valley. The report confirmed that only 28 terrorists had been killed during the entire Operation 'Sarp Vinash' despite claims by the Army authorities that over 100 terrorists had been killed during April and May this year. The data available with Jammu and Kashmir Police, which is informed by the Army authorities after every encounter with terrorists, also showed that 28 terrorists were eliminated which included 14 terrorists killed by Nine Para Army unit on April 22. It said that majority of terrorists had sneaked into neighbouring places in Jammu and Kashmir and that the Army should widen the scope of its Operation Sarp Vinash to counter those elements. The Army, which had not fully appreciated the earlier messages of the Intelligence agencies, has now been asked to go after the militants who had sneaked into the neighbouring areas, agencies sources said. According to the recent intelligence input, a big group of militants armed with sophisticated weapons was seen moving towards the Doda region and the information had already been shared with the Romeo Force, a counter insurgency unit of Army in this region. The intelligence agencies have also sounded an alarm for Army units located in Shopian area of Kashmir valley as some splinter groups from Hil Kaka had taken refuge in this area, the sources said. During the Operation Hil Kaka, the Army was also not able to find any big haul of weaponry as the intelligence agencies suspect that majority of it had been taken out of the area to other safe places in Thana Mandi and Darhal forest areas of Rajouri. During the period of April 22 to May 27, four Pika-type machine guns, nine assault rifles, one sniper rifle, five pistols, one shot gun, one mortar, three mobile phones and a satellite phone were recovered from the Hil Kaka area, the sources said.


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