Militants' Forays Cause Alarm In J&K

11 April 2009
Daily News & Analysis

Srinagar: A three-member group of militants speaking fluent Urdu recently trekked down the dense forest hills to a neighbouring village at Handwara hunting for the food. In the dark ofnight, they enteredsome houses asking for rice and looking for a spade. Villagers were stunned to see young chaps carrying weapons and roaming openly for food. Next day, the police received the inputs about the incident and went to the area to look for the militants but they had melted away into the forest. During questioning, the villagers informed the police that they had not seen them before and it seems that they were new to the area. 'One of the households tried to avoid them saying he does not have spade at home. One of the militants tried to call his bluff saying, 'don't lie we have picked this spade from your backyard', said a senior police officer. After investigation, it was concluded that more than seven militants, who have freshly infiltrated are roaming the jungles. This is not the only area where newly infiltrated militants are hiding; there are several pockets witnessing a huge influx of ultras. Sources said Lolaab, Handwara and Chowikbal are the areas in question. Reports suggest that nearly 40 to 50 highly trained militants have infiltrated recently into Kashmir. Sources said more than 400 militants are waiting to cross over from Pakistan. What has taken the security forces by surprise is the renewed push by militants before the snow starts melting on the passes. Most of the attempts made by the militants were despite the fact the areas were snow bound and not feasible for the infiltration. Infiltrators are now increasingly focusing on the line of control (LoC) in Kupwara and Gurez to sneak into the Valley. Dense jungles and inclement weather is providing them apt cover to hide before launching their activities. Gurmeet Singh, brigadier-general staff (BGS) of the 15 corps of the army recently disclosed there are a large number of militants waiting to infiltrate from across the LoC. 'We are military prepared for such contingency and to deliver with utmost firmness in a counter insurgency and counter terrorist operation', he added. More than 29 militants and 11 soldiers including a major of Special Forces have been killed in different encounters since March 20. Most of the militants killed infiltrated into the Valley recently. What is however worrying the agencies are the reports that militants might try to step up activities to create fear psychosis among the people? 'These incidents are happening in upper reaches and jungle areas. Towns and rural areas of the district are safe. We have completed our preparations of polls and these incidents will not have any impact', said Showkat Ahmad Mir, district development commissioner of Kupwara.