September 2006 News

Infiltration down, but violence continuing in IHK: Indian Army

21 September 2006
The Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

New Delhi: The Indian Army has admitted that infiltration has gone down in Jammu and Kashmir over the past few months, but says there has been no let up in violence. In its latest situation assessment report submitted to the headquarters here, the Northern Command, which has three corps based in Jammu and Kashmir, has sent alarming signals, saying that militants, particularly from the Hizbul Mujahideen, were using routes into Kashmir other than the heavily guarded Line of Control (LoC). Sources in the security establishment, commenting on reports that Hizb is prepared for a ceasefire, said the government was seriously considering a truce during Ramazan. But, they say, the government is wary of a repeat of its bitter experience of the 2000 ceasefire which had no support from the Pakistani government. This time the government is trying to get Pakistan on board through back channels, sources added. Officials here pointed out that a ceasefire with only one militant group would not bring peace and suggested that groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad should also join the truce. But there are many who believe that the government should only engage Hizb and continue operations against others. While Hizb is a local outfit and can be engaged, there is no question of extending an olive branch to foreign outfits, which have no business in Kashmir, said an official. The army report has also suggested that militants now include a large number of locals, which it has described as a disturbing trend. The Hizb now makes up over 60 percent of the active militants in the state, army sources said. The Northern Command has informed the government that Hizb cadres were no longer infiltrating through the LoC, but were using routes through Nepal and Bangladesh. Since they carry no weapons and easily merge with the local population, security forces are finding it difficult to curb the trend, sources said. They are given weapons only after reaching their destinations, they added. The army feels that as the October 2005 earthquake has damaged a large part of the fence along the LoC, militants might have pushed large caches of weapons into Kashmir. We are trying to unearth these caches and cut off this access to militants, source said. The army says that only Afghans and some Pakistanis belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e- Mohammad are using the LoC route to enter Kashmir.


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