August 2016 News

Unrest Gives New Lease Of Life To Militants

22 August 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Militants in Kashmir who were on run after successful operations by security forces this year are taking advantage of unrest that has led to breakdown of the Government machinery in the Valley. Sources in security forces said that at least 40 militants who were in North Kashmir forests have taken advantage of 45 days of unrest and managed to come out to South and Central Kashmir. They were waiting for logistic support and unrest has given them free passage as security operations have come to halt. Sources said that a group of 8 foreigners and a local is in Budgam district adjacent to Srinagar city. 'This area had no presence of militants for almost over a decade now and few locals have also joined them as Over Ground Workers', they added. Army had launched massive operation in Gulmarg sector of North Kashmir's Baramulla district against this group after a month ago after inputs about their infiltration. Army had laid ambushes at several places for days together but the group slipped out the forest area and is now operating in Budgam district. Another group of around 5-6 foreigners is believed to have arrived in Chadoora area of Budgam and they are shuttling between Pulwama and Chadoora. Sources said that around 21 foreign militants have managed to reach South Kashmir from Baba Reshi forest area in North Kashmir, Handwara and Kupwara where they had infiltrated from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in May and June this year. They were hiding there and were waiting to get transported out of North Kashmir but tight security vigil was hampering their efforts. Security agencies have also regular inputs about movement of militants from Rainawari, Bemina, Shalteng, Takanwari, Batamaloo and Ahmad Nagar areas of Srinagar. In Rainawari, security forces last week even raided a house where they had information about presence of three militants. However, they had already shifted from that place. Sources said that besides this, militants are consolidating their bases especially in South and Central Kashmir where unrest is providing them more active support in the form of new recruits, OGWs and hideouts while the sources of the security agencies have gone into hibernation. Sources said that militants are making free movements in Kupwara, Bandipora, Budgam, Srinagar and South Kashmir. They have even made public appearance at Karimabad and Tral in Pulwama district, Qaimoh in Kulgam district and Arwani in Anantnag district where they attracted huge crowds. Sources said that Jaish-e-Mohammad which was trying to establish its base in Tral area of Pulwama district in South Kashmir for last several years and had failed with security forces killings its chief Adil Pathan last year, is now sending its men to Tral. After the attack in Nowhatta, Srinagar and Baramulla, the Army and security forces have now intensified their movement in the rural areas during night and imposed night curfew to prevent movement of militants. This year security forces had major success against militants and they killed 99 of them so far which is highest in recent years. But the infiltration has also gone up and according to Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) figures, this year till June 56 militants, mostly belonging to LeT, have infiltrated into Kashmir while last year the number was 35 for the whole year. Sources in the security forces said that after the unrest in Kashmir is over, the Valley is up for renewed militancy which is a major challenge for them as unrest have given them new lease of life. However, Northern Army Commander, Lt General Hooda, told Excelsior that he doesn't see the militancy situation going out of hand after the unrest. 'Militants will always try to do upsurge in violence and that is what they aim to do. I think our posture is OK and our Intelligence is alright. We should be able to deal with it. I don't see militant situation going out of hand seriously', he said.