August 2003 News

2500 to 3000 militants active in J&K: BSF chief

8 August 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Centre has sanctioned Rs 2,300 crore for modernisation of the Border Security Force (BSF) and the paramilitary taken inventory of advanced surveillance equipment that would enable monitoring subversive activities deep inside Pakistan, BSF Director General Ajai Raj Sharma said today. Delivering the keynote address, 'role of BSF in guarding the borders and promoting national security' during the memorial lecture on the founding father of the BSF K F Rustamji here, he said some hand-held sensors capable of long-range penetration had been handled and found satisfactory. It was also awaiting the result of the report submitted by a committee to Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani about the security along India’s borders, particularly with Pakistan and Bangladesh, he said. In the past ten to 15 years the emphasis had been on counter-insurgency, having tackled the problem of terrorism in Punjab, but the 'militants still strike at will' and at any given time there were 2,500 to 3,000 militants in Jammu and Kashmir. The only answer to this was border fencing, the Director General said and the BSF had opted to 'take the risk although it is not its responsibility' and suffered a quite a number of casualties in the bargain. On the same note, Mr Sharma said, 'the latest weaponry in the armoury of Pakistani militants is the Fidayeen attacks and the very first attck on a BSF campus in Bandipur had resulted in the killing of a DIG and two others. It is gratifying that the Fidayeen have got a befitting reply, whenever they targated BSF camps'. In counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990, the BSF has killed more than 4,200 militants and apprehended some 12,000 ultras and 'anti-national elements,' he added. Another major task of the force was checking illegal migration from the eastern borders. 'It is ironical that Bangladesh, which owes its very birth to the sacrifices made by our forces, is today posing a serious threat to our national security by encouraging illegal infiltration,' the Director General said. He added that 'fundamentalist elements in Bangladesh' had been propogating that the border defined at the time of partition (1971) was no longer relevent and needed to be changed. Replying to a question on the trafficking of women from Bangladesh, he said it was largely a result of poverty in that country. 'For just a few hundred rupees, these women have to take to the flesh trade.' However, the problem was being addressed by the BSF along with the cooperation of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and efforts had been stepped up on both sides of the border to arrest touts and other involved in the trade, Mr Sharma added. The memorial lecture on the first Director General of the BSF, was also addressed at the Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) by National Police Academy former Director and National Human Rights Commission former Director-General Sankar Sen, Mr A K Dave of the Indian Police who was a contemporary of Mr Rustamji and Dr George Mathew, Director of ISS. (UNI)


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