Militant Strength Across LoC Has Crossed All Proportions: Army12 October 2011
Srinagar: With increase in the presence of militants across the LoC, the army has deployed additional troops in priority areas to counter infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of snowfall. 'According to Intelligence reports, strength of militants across (the LoC) has crossed all proportions. At present, opposite Shamsabari (range) and Uri, there are 600 militants,' General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain told reporters at Duddi village near LoC, 170 km from the summer capital. He said militants will try to sneak in during the next two months before winter arrives and the mountain passes get closed by snow. 'Attempts will be made everywhere. There is a window of two months before winter. This is a dangerous window.' However, he said, the counter-infiltration grid has been redoubled to meet the challenge of infiltration putting the number of militants killed this year 80. He said 30 to 40 militants have managed to infiltrate. 'We are redoubling our effort on the Line of Control. We are redeploying (forces) to the priority areas. We are not leaving the LoC fence anywhere in the Shamsabari,' he said. Shamsabari forest range in north Kashmir's Kupwara district has emerged as a favoured infiltration route for the militants since past couple of years with army foiling several bids by them to sneak in this year alone. Lt Gen Hasnain, who commands the strategic Army Corps in Kashmir valley, was on a visit to this remote village in the frontier Kupwara district, to have a peoples' meet with the locals of Machil sector. Machil sector has been a favoured infiltration route for militants from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to enter Kashmir over the past 20 years. Lt Gen Hasnain also interacted with village elders and locals. He said forces have an opportunity to 'break the back of militancy' in the state as 19 top militant commanders of LeT and Hizbul Mujahideen have been killed so far this year. 'There is a realisation that 2011 is an important year. We can actually break the back of militancy this year... if they cannot bring militants in (to Kashmir) by next year, I can assure you we have turned the tables in Kashmir,' he said. He downplayed the presence of militants from Pakistan's Taliban heartland saying there is no trend to suggest it is a growing phenomenon. 'I do not read that at all. These kind of trends have taken place in Kashmir... one-off kind of things. Three years ago, some militants from Kerala were killed here, so these events come and go in Kashmir,' Lt Gen Hasnain said. Two militants, hailing from Swat valley, were killed in an encounter with security forces in a village in Kangan area of Ganderbal district in central Kashmir on Sunday.