2500 Militants Waiting Across Border To Infiltrate: Army Chief

24 November 2009
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: About 2000 to 2500 terrorists of various outfits are waiting in several training camps along the borders with Pakistan for opportune time to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir but the Indian Army is all prepared to foil their attempts. This was stated by Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function organised to dedicate Balidan Sthambh (the pillar of sacrifice) to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 'As per our intelligence inputs, about 2000 to 2500 militants are in the state of readiness in about 42 terrorist training camps located across the International Border and Line of Control (LoC) on the Pakistan side waiting for opportunity to intrude into this side of Indian territory to carry out their nefarious designs', he said. To a specific query on Taliban among the terrorists waiting for infiltration, he said, 'the cadres of Taliban could be there. But no matters whether they are from Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Taliban or any other group', adding 'Army is not afraid of any group of terrorists and is in the state of readiness to thwart their attempts and teach them a lesson'. 'The protection of lives and property of the people is supreme for the Army and we are ready to take on any group of the terrorists', he further said, adding 'enough surveillance is being maintained on the borders to check infiltration bids'. About cease-fire violations, Army chief said, 'there has been decrease in cease-fire violations this year as compared to last year', adding 'our attempt is that Pakistan should stop ceasefire violations completely. But their attempt is to push more and more militants into this side before the onset of winter (when snow closes passes)'. Asked if Army has recommended any steps to check misuse of cross LoC points by the militants, he said, 'certain measures have been recommended to check militants taking advantage of cross-LoC points to carry out their nefarious designs in Jammu and Kashmir', adding 'the Government is also taking steps on our recommendations so that this facility is only used for people’s movement and intra-State trade'. It is pertinent to mention here that for the first time since the opening of cross-LoC points, a Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) citizen was arrested yesterday soon after crossing over to this side from Chakkan Da Bagh crossing point alongwith a satellite telephone and two Pakistani SIM cards reportedly for a top Lashkar operative in the State. 'It is a fact that number of attacks on civilian population have come down but the pointed attacks against security forces have increased', he said in reply to another question, adding 'security forces would take care of that also'. About the Chinese transgression in the State, General Kapoor said, 'it is at the same level as was during last year'. In response to question about imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on CSD items, he said, 'we will discuss the issue with the Chief Minister and I am sure he will do whatever he can in this regard'. Earlier, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah alongwith Army chief General Deepak Kapoor dedicated the Balidan Sthambh (the pillar of sacrifice) to the people of the State in a function attended by Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Dr Farooq Abdullah, GOC Western Command, Lt Gen T K Sapru, GOC Northern Command Lt Gen B S Jaswal, several Ministers and senior officers of the State Government. Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister lauded the role of Indian Army in safe-guarding the borders of country and rending stupendous service to the people during natural calamities and in the hours of need. He said that the memorial will always remind the people of the great sacrifices made by the jawans and provide an opportunity to pay homage to the martyrs. 'I hope this memorial would emerge as a tourist place in the coming days and visitors would make it a point to stop here', he added. Referring to the role of Army in helping civil administration to maintain peace and law and order in the challenging situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Omar said that Army never asks for any task regarding the maintenance of internal security, as its role is to protect the borders and fight the enemies for which they have been actually trained. 'It is the situation which compels the civil Government to call Army for meeting the exigencies and protect the lives of citizens', he said. He said that State and Central Governments are working together to restore the permanent peace and stability in the State so that every citizen breaths in the atmosphere of peace and tranquility. 'We want to create a situation where no Army man will be required for the protection of the people on internal front', he said. Making reference to the efforts of former Chief of Army Staff, General N C Vij in the construction of befitting memorial in Jammu city signifying the martyrdom of Army, the Chief Minister said that General Vij projected and piloted the work on the project which has ultimately come up as a marvelous monument. On the occasion, General Deepak Kapoor paid rich tributes to the Army jawans who laid their lives while protecting the honour and safety of the country and its people. 'The martyrs will always be remembered and the Balidan Sthambh would inspire the youth to inculcate the spirit of patriotism', he added. The GOC Western Command Lt General T K Sapru gave resume of the efforts put in by the Army especially retired General Vij for the construction of the memorial at Jammu city. The Balidan Sthambh is a soaring 60 metre high tower symbolizing a bayoneted rifle. The tower pierces the sky and epitomises courage and valour. At the base of the tower is an eternal flame, a timeless commemoration of the supreme sacrifice made by the brave martyrs on the soil of Jammu and Kashmir, while upholding the unity and integrity of country. The memorial tower is surrounded by three layers of water bodies, each at a different level signifying the gradual alleviation of grief of the near and dear ones of the martyrs. The first water body is calm and still denoting dignity and pride, while the central water body flows into the lower level representing the energy of eternal life. Soft lilting melody from the musical fountains fills the air with nostalgia. As a befitting backdrop to the majestic tower, is an immaculate black granite wall on which, the history of each of the wars fought in Jammu and Kashmir since Independence is engraved, recounting the saga of blood and courage. A necklace of 52 memorial pillars adorns the front of the memorial tower. On these, the names of all martyrs are etched on stone in golden colour, bearing testimony of their selfless sacrifice. The memorial rises from lush green contoured lawns which accentuate the tranquil ambience as one walks up to the base of the tower to pay homage to the martyrs.