Army Ready To Thwart Militant Attempts To Disrupt Polls

24 November 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Mir Farhat

Srinagar: Army today said they have inputs that militants might attempt to disrupt the ongoing polls and added the Army is prepared to deal with it. While talking to reporters here, General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha said ahead of the polls the militants are 'desperately' trying to infiltrate and push in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other weapons, but the attempts have been successfully foiled as of now. 'The inputs are coming from different districts and tehsils. We are working on those inputs and keeping track of the trends. And we are ready to respond to all the challenges which will emerge from the attempts of militants to disrupt the polls,' Lt Gen Saha said, adding that such inputs have been coming in the past too. Five Assembly segments in Ganderbal and Bandipora districts are slated to vote tomorrow in the 5-phase polls. Lt Gen Saha said he has visited these two districts. The Army commander said young boys and the recycled militants joining militancy is a cause of concern and challenge for the Army. 'This is part of their (militants) new strategy to recruit young boys and recycled militants. And the kind of weapons these new recruits are using are snatched pistols, carbines, INSAS rifles and others,' he said. Lt Gen Saha said of the five militants killed during this month four were young recruited recently. 'From such incidents, it is emerging quite clearly that there is a tendency to push the young recruits forward, while the leadership remains behind,' the officer said, adding the leadership of the militants was remaining behind because of the robust security grid put in place by the Army. He was referring to the two encounters in Kulgam and Tral in south Kashmir where five young and fresh recruited militants were killed by security forces. He said that Army was aware of the security of the Panchayat representatives, who have become soft targets in the last few years and all the security forces have taken the responsibility to keep them in a safe environment. 'We are conscious of the security requirement of soft targets like Panchs and Sarpanchs and we would provide an environment of security to them,' he said, adding that all the security forces - the JKP, the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF), are directly looking into the polling and poll-related activities. Giving details on the number of militants which have been killed in this year in different face-off between the two, Lt Gen Saha said the number of militants 'neutralized' this year was much higher than the previous year. '129 terrorists were neutralized this year as compared to previous year's record of 89. Similarly, 86 militants were killed till date as compared to last year's 62 and the number of militants killed in counter infiltration has been substantially higher' it is 45,' he said. Saha said that there is 'grassroots level' coordination with police in the Valley and several interactions were held at in North, South and Central Kashmir together. The Army commander said along the Line of Control, the militants are trying to push in IEDs which is a 'new' trend. 'There have been a number of infiltration attempts which have been foiled. We have noticed a new trend in these infiltration bids is to push in to push in IEDs. It is absolutely new. Earlier this month, four IEDs were recovered from just next to the LoC on two occasions. That recovery has saved quite a catastrophic situation,' he said.