Ahead of festivals and holidays like Eid, Raksha Bandhan and Independence Day in the coming days, intelligence agencies warn that in spite of successful counter-terrorist operations in the Kashmir valley, around 300 trained terrorists are waiting across the LoC along Uri, Kupwara (Keran, Machal, Tangdhar), Bandipora and Gurez in the North Pir Panjal in Kashmir valley and Samba and Rajouri-Poonch in Jammu.
The coming days and months before the winter season are a test case for the security grid, now directly controlled by New Delhi in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir post-abrogation of Article 370.
”This year, there have been a number of successful encounters of infiltrating militants close to the LoC in Kupwara and south of Pir Panjal. This is largely due to anti-infiltration measures and better intelligence inputs,” said a security official. However, security agencies are aware that the guard cannot be allowed to drop in Jammu and Kashmir, as the summer months continue to remain the critical phase when Pakistan’s ISI and terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are waiting for an opportunity to look for gaps in the security grid to disrupt the peace in the valley.
The festival season is the time the terror outfits plan to strike and keeping in view the heightened threats in the coming days, the security agencies are maintaining a high vigil.
There are specific inputs to suggest that Rajouri and Poonch areas are witnessing increasing attempts by ISI-supported terror groups and the infiltration routes falling in these areas are being explored for infiltration of the cadres into Jammu and Kashmir. Recent foiled infiltration bids and busting of hideouts in this region is an indication of this trend. Two terrorists were killed at the Line of Control on July 11 while infiltrating and three terrorists were injured on June 30 in a similar attempt, said security sources.
They were infiltrating from Pakistani posts, Chakpatra or Tariq under Mandal sector (Leepa Valley), opposite the Tungdhar sector in Kupwara. After being injured, security sources said these terrorists were taken to the Field Trauma Centre in Leepa run by Pakistan Army. Similarly, on May 25, three terrorists were killed along LoC in Naushera area of Rajouri sector.
Further, heightened terrorist activity was witnessed in Rajouri sector on July 1, when an infiltration attempt was made by four-five terrorists in Keri area of Rajouri sector, which was thwarted by security forces in which one terrorist was killed and arms and ammunition recovered. Further, on July 12, two terrorists were killed in Naugam sector after a coordinated operation was launched by the Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police and intelligence agencies.
However, the crucial months ahead before the snow falls in Kashmir, will determine whether the security agencies—guided by the counter-terror strategy of New Delhi and increased vigil on the border—can stop terrorists in their tracks and control Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the newly formed Union territory.
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