April 2016 News

Militant Group Infiltrates Into Kupwara Forests, Operation On

26 April 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Army has launched a massive operation in North Kashmir's Kupwara forests after reports of infiltration of a militant group in the area from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Army has received inputs that at least 10 militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) have infiltrated into the forests of Budnambal during the intervening night of April 18 and 19. Sources said that for last four days, Army is conducting massive combing operations in the forest area so that these militants don't come out of the forests and are tackled there only. The operation has been launched by Army's 19-Maratha but so far they have not found any traces of these militants but sources said that the group is still in the area. Sources said that the Budnambal search operation has been closed today. However, Army's 28-RR, 18-RR and Special Operations Group (SOG) of Police, Kupwara, has launched another operation against them in Patushai, Kantpora and Shumbreyal forest areas. Army had already inputs that the militants may try to sneak into Kashmir in large numbers after they conducted successful operations this year by eliminating 32 militants so far with majority of them belonging to the LeT. Army has reports that the number of the militants on the launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) has increased in recent months. Sources said that during this year's winters, 50-70 militants were at the launch pads near 400 kilometer long LoC in PoK ready for infiltration into Kashmir. They said that the number of militants at the launch pads have increased and it has gone up to over 170. These militants are on 12 launch pads that are in PoK near the LoC and the maximum increase has been observed in Neelam valley launch pads. Sources said that as there was very less snowfall along the LoC in Kashmir this winter, militants mostly belonging to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), started concentrating on the launch pads near the LoC for infiltration early in February. They said that last summer, there were 500 militants waiting for the infiltration on the launch pads and this year numbers may increase as they are desperate to infiltrate more militants into Kashmir due to successes achieved by the security forces against them. Normally, the infiltration into Kashmir from across the LoC starts in May and last year it started from Mid May. This year, as there was very less snowfall, the first infiltration attempt was made on March 3. Army foiled an infiltration bid in Keran sector of the LoC and killed one militant on March 3 and one weapon was also recovered. Army has already intensified its vigil along the LoC to prevent any infiltration from across the LoC as there was less snow on the LoC. Last year, infiltration was down by 50 percent due to strengthening of the counter-infiltration grid along 400 kilometer LoC in Kashmir. The Multi Agency Centre (MAC) figures of last year put the infiltration figures of 2015 at 35. According to the MAC, figures, 65 militants infiltrated into Kashmir in 2014, 97 infiltrated in 2013, 121 in 2012, 52 in 2011, 82 in 2010, 99 infiltrated in 2009, 27 infiltrated in 2008.