Govt Fears Surge In Infiltration

13 May 2008
The Times of India
Rajat Pandit & Vishwa Mohan

New Delhi: With intelligence reports holding that there are at least 40 terrorist training camps still 'active' in Pakistan, India fears an upsurge in infiltration and violence levels in a bid to disrupt the forthcoming Amarnath yatra and elections in Jammu & Kashmir. Even as defence minister A K Antony asked the security forces to step up their vigil against attempts by 'our enemies to destroy the peace process' in J&K, a high-level meeting at the PMO on Tuesday decided to rush more BSF and CRPF troops to the Valley. This is considered necessary since latest intelligence reports, collated from radio intercepts and interrogation of apprehended terrorists and the like, indicate there are still 18 terrorist-training camps operational in Pakistan, 20 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and two in the Northern Areas. With 'launch pads' being 'activated' along the Line of Control after the melting of snow, there is apprehension that 'hundreds of jehadis' receiving training in such camps are being primed to sneak into J&K to unleash havoc. As per estimates, there are already around 1,200 militants 'active' in the state, with a major encounter between infiltrating militants and security forces in the Samba sector last week only proving that many more are trying to get in. 'Infiltration was largely under control till April. But now, serious attempts have started with the melting of snow,' said Antony, accompanied by Army chief General Deepak Kapoor and defence secretary Vijay Singh on a visit to the small border village of Hussainiwala on the banks of the Sutlej on Tuesday. 'I don't expect any let up in infiltration this summer also. The coming summer becomes all the more important because of the Kashmir polls... Our security forces are prepared to defeat any move from across the border to create problems in our country,' he added. Around the same time that Antony was visiting the forward area, the PMO meeting asked home secretary Madhukar Gupta and CRPF chief V K Joshi to send reinforcements to the Valley as soon as possible. Though providing foolproof security to the Amarnath yatra beginning from June 18 was the immediate concern at the PMO meeting, officials also reviewed the preparation of CRPF for the J&K assembly polls slated for October. Among the decisions taken was that BSF would send one additional battalion (around 1,000 men) to bolster deployment along the international border (IB) in Samba and R S Pura sectors by Thursday. Incidentally, while Army guards the LoC, BSF provides the first line of defence along the IB. The CRPF, in turn, will send three to four of its 10 newly-raised battalions to J&K to reinforce its battalions already deployed in counter-insurgency operations. These CRPF battalions were initially earmarked for duties in the north-east but have now been redirected to the Valley with the 'threat perception' escalating in J&K.