December 2017 News

Kishenganga Infiltration Route 'major Challenge' For Army

9 December 2017
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amir Karim Tantray

Srinagar: The Army has been taken by surprise in the Gurez sector of north Kashmir as militants have chosen to wade through the Kishanganga to infiltrate into Kashmir instead of coming through mountainous passes along the Line of Control. The river is narrow and its water-level is about one and a half feet, making it easy for 100-odd militants to tread undetected even when soldiers' binoculars and guns remain fixed on the mountains. In the past six months, militants have used a clever strategy and infiltrated through the river. The Army, however, came to know when more than 100 militants, most of them from the Lashkar-e-Toiba, had already made it to this side. The Kishanganga, known as Neelum in Pakistan, forms a natural border between the Indian and Pakistan parts of Kashmir. The Gurez sector remained immune from infiltration for most part of militancy in Kashmir until militants, in hordes, chose the route to infiltrate a few years ago. The river route of infiltration has become a new headache for the Army. Though it has set up bunkers and other vigil points along the river, the step has come too late as more than 100 heavily armed and well-trained militants have already made to this side of the LoC. 'It is a serious challenge for us,' said a senior Army officer on condition of anonymity. Of the 100 terrorists, the Army has been able to neutralise about 25 and 15 have been arrested, according to sources. The rest 60 are still active in various parts of the Valley, sources said. Maintaining vigil on the river is more challenging and once they are in, it is difficult to neutralise them as they mingle with locals, sources said.