October 2017 News

BSF Camp Near Srinagar Airport Attacked, All 4 Militants Killed

3 October 2017
LiveMint
Shaswati Das

New Delhi: In a massive security breach in one of Kashmir's most protected areas, four militants from an affiliate of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group stormed a Border Security Force (BSF) camp near the Srinagar airport on Tuesday and opened fire, killing a BSF trooper. All four were killed by security forces, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said. At 3:45am on Tuesday, the attackers, in military fatigues, entered the BSF's 182 battalion camp located near the Srinagar international airport. The Indian Army, CRPF, BSF and the special operations group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir police were called in after the militants hurled grenades and started shooting indiscriminately, senior CRPF officials said on condition of anonymity. Union home minister Rajnath Singh said that he had spoken to the directors general of BSF and CRPF regarding the situation. The attack comes a day after the BSF sent out an advisory to all its personnel stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, warning them of more surprise attacks on unarmed soldiers. BSF warned its personnel to remain vigilant even when they are off duty. The advisory was issued after BSF constable Mohammad Ramzan Parray of the 73rd battalion of the BSF in Baramulla was shot by militants at his home on the evening of 27 September. This incident is the third-biggest attack on camps of security forces since January 2016, following the attack on the Pathankot air base in January last year and the Indian Army's camp in Uri in September 2016. Senior intelligence officers said that future attacks in Kashmir would most likely be executed by JeM. 'The local cadres of militants in Kashmir have been eliminated by security forces. This season alone, 130-150 militants have been killed and now, the JeM is trying to push its forces forward in Kashmir. There is enough intelligence to believe that we can expect more attacks by them,' said an intelligence official, requesting anonymity. While home ministry statistics reveal that 130 militants had been killed by security forces till 31 July, this year, security forces on ground stated that militants groups were constantly replenishing their lost forces. 'Each month, at least eight to 10 new terrorists join the various terror groups such as the Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the JeM. The ones who join are either locals from Kashmir or from Pakistan who cross over into India,' said a senior security official, on condition of anonymity. According to the official, there are nearly 250 militants currently holed up in the valley. Defence experts say that despite the four-tier security breach, the problem lay not in poor manual surveillance but in the lack of equipment provided to the forces which compounded to the feeble perimeter security of such camps. 'Our technical surveillance is woefully inadequate and human surveillance cannot make up for that. We need adequate appliances such as night-vision glasses which governments have been unable to provide for lack of funds,' said Gurmeet Kanwal, a defence analyst at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses. Kanwal also added that even though sentries are stationed at such camps and patrolling takes place, there is always room for militants to sneak into the camps.

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