J&K Security Stepped Up Against Hizb Plan To Launch Terror Strikes During Polls

4 April 2009
The Times of India


New Delhi: Amidst Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin's plan to launch terror strikes during the general elections and reports that 400 trained Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists are waiting to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has asked Army and paramilitary forces to step up security to thwart any attempt of jehadis to disrupt the polls. The HM's game-plan was first revealed a few days ago during the interrogation of two of its cadre. Sources in the security agencies here said that the matter was discussed in detail in Srinagar in a high-level meeting on Friday when Army was specifically asked to get into counter-insurgency (CI) operations in a big way at the time when thousands of CRPF personnel were being diverted for poll duties. Taking note of such threats, the meeting - attended by Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta and defence secretary Vijay Singh - also underlined the need for bigger deployment along the LoC and international border in order to strengthen the existing multi-tiered counter-infltration grid. The HM's plan was disclosed by one Zahid Ahmad Dar, top commander of the outfit, who was arrested in Jammu last month. During interrogation, he told cops that his main objective was to explore the territory and lay the groundwork for attacks in coordination with LeT's cadre in the Valley. Another terrorist Ateeq Ullah Dar, who was arrested along with Zahid, too gave similar account, that put the security agencies on the alert. The duo, who stayed with Salahuddin in PoK for two years, had entered India through Nepal and made their way to Jammu via Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. 'Their arrest not only reaffirmed the worrying trend of rising intrusions just ahead of the poll but also corroborated the authenticity of the intercepts, suggesting a major plan of terrorists to sneak in during April-May,' said a senior official here. The Army expects infiltration attempts to go up in coming days as the terror groups would increase efforts to disrupt the elections. Just a fortnight ago, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor had declared that 40-50 terrorist training camps were still operational across the border. Sources said both Gupta and Singh also discussed various matters related to the security situation in the Valley including the recent infiltration bids along the LoC in Kupwara and Bandipora districts as also the preparedness of the security forces for the smooth and peaceful conduct of elections. J&K's director-general of police Kuldeep Khoda, Corps Commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt General Bikram Singh and other senior officials of Army, police and intelligence agencies attended the meeting.