Arms seized from militants can raise 42 new bns21 May 2010
The Daily Excelsior
SRINAGAR : The quantity of arms and ammunition seized from militants and their hideouts in the State since eruption of militancy is more than enough to raise 42 new battalions of security forces. 'The security forces including Army, police, CRPF and BSF have seized more than 30,000 AK rifles from the militants and militant hideouts in the State over the past 20 years when militancy began here,' authoritative sources told EXCELSIOR. They said over 12,000 pistols were also seized by the security forces during the anti-insurgency operations in the State. 'The quantity of arms and ammunition that the security forces have recovered from the militants and their hideouts across the State is good enough to arm 42 battalions of security forces,' a senior intelligence official said on the condition of anonymity. He said many countries in the world had lesser arms, ammunition and explosives to defend their country. 'Many countries even do not have armies and many countries do not arm their police personnel,' he added. More than 50,000 grenades of various makes and types have also been seized since the turmoil gripped the State in 1990. 'The security forces have also recovered tonnes of other explosives like RDX. If the militants had been able to use all the explosive material provided to them by their masters across the Line of Control (LoC), the devastation in the State would have been far more than what we have witnessed,' he said. The official, however, said the peace-loving people of the State have paid a heavy price for allowing the situation to deteriorate by supporting the militants in the early days. 'More than 16,700 civilians have been killed while security forces have also lost over 5,000 men during the past 20 years. It is a huge price to pay,' he said adding the security forces have eliminated over 21,000 militants in the past two decades. The officer admitted that 200 to 300 civilians were killed in cross firing or by security forces - inadvertently or intentionally - but added that remaining people were killed by the militants. 'The militants have not discriminated … they have killed men, women, children, young, old and infirm,' he said. The officer, who has held several key positions in the anti-insurgency operations in the State, said while a large number of locals actively participated in the militancy in early 1990s, the insurgency in the State today was mainly operated by foreign militants. 'Most of the militants operating in the State today are not from here. They come from across the LoC,' he said. He said if Pakistan were to stop infiltration today, it will not take more than couple of months for the situation to normalize in the State. 'We have tracked down the militants very successfully ... from few thousand in early 1990, we have reduced them to just few hundred. The problem is from Pakistan, which continues to push in more militants every year.' The officer said while Pakistan cannot hazard another attack like Mumbai or Parliament attack, the handlers across the LoC want calibrated violence to continue in the State.