No Taliban Militants In Kashmir, Says Army

31 October 2009
The Hindu

New Delhi: The Army has ruled out the presence of Taliban militants in Jammu and Kashmir but has warned of a spill-over if the situation worsens in Pakistan. “Taliban fighters have not entered the State but there is a possibility of spill-over if the situation in Pakistan goes out of control,” General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Udhampur-based Northern Command Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal told reporters on Saturday. “The Northern Command is well prepared to meet any eventuality from Pakistan and China, and we maintain adequate posture on our borders. My troops understand the need to maintain peace along the Line of Control. Infiltration attempts and ceasefire violations are countered with an iron fist,” he said. Though violence in Jammu and Kashmir had dipped since 2006 (with just 36 incidents reported this year against 276 in 2006), “agitational terrorism” was a cause for worry, he said. He said 561 soldiers died fighting militancy since 2005. “Militancy is down. It is visible in the faces of the people who have shunned fear and come forward to provide us with information,” he said. The Army would ensure that there was no human rights violation, but “minor aberrations here and there cannot be ruled out.” He said troop deployment would essentially be driven by the adjustments and changes based on the assessment of the situation in different areas. “The requirement of security forces is based on numerous parameters. The number of militants…is one important factor. It is important to assess the situation based on attempts to infiltrate, ‘atrocities committed by the militants,’ the presence of Over Ground Workers and whether the people feel safe or not.” Lt. Gen. Jaswal said 37 infiltration attempts had been made so far this year. “While most bids have been foiled with 74 terrorists killed, some have taken place. Adequate measures are in place for effective domination of the LoC…” The three-tier deployment of forces was dynamic and based on the pattern of movement and concentration of terrorists. All sensitive areas were being adequately addressed. The LoC was kept under constant surveillance, he said. “The International Border is manned by the BSF, and it too has the resolve to prevent infiltration. Pushing infiltrators from across the LoC before the onset of winter has been a recurring phenomenon, for which the Army is always geared up,” he said.