Jammu: While Kashmir remains the hotbed of militancy, the relatively peaceful Jammu region has also seen a resurgence in terror activities this year.
At the peak of militancy, Jammu region, comprising 10 districts, had also witnessed selective killings and massacres. However, the violence had been consistently waning since 2004-05, with stray incidents reported once in a while.
After the revocation of Articles 370 and 35-A on August 5, 2019, there was a thaw in terror activities for a year. However, terrorism seems to have picked up momentum yet again.
Former director general of police SP Vaid, who also served as the inspector general of police for Jammu region, said, “Jammu is definitely seeing a resurgence in terror activities. Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI, wants to disturb Jammu because of the religious pluralism of the region. For instance, if there is a grenade attack in Kashmir and 10 civilians are injured then there is a backlash on terrorists in the Valley. However, Jammu has a mixed population.”
“The recent terror attacks are proof that Pakistan is putting all its efforts to revive terrorism in Jammu region,” said Dr Vaid. Since January, terror activities have been witnessed in Rajouri, Poonch, Reasi, Jammu, Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Samba and Kathua districts.
“A new security threat has also emerged in the form of drones along the 200-km international border from Kathua to Akhnoor. Drones are being used to drop arms, IEDs, drugs and money. Tunnels are also being dug to push terrorists in Jammu. ISI has ‘contacts’ in Jammu region and it has started reactivating them besides harnessing new ones to de-stabilise the region,” the former DGP said.
“Following August 5, 2019, Pakistan failed to create disturbances in Kashmir so it is trying to create chaos in Jammu to sabotage the political process initiated by the Centre so that Pakistan can claim that there is no democracy in Jammu and Kashmir.”
On political killings, especially of BJP leaders and functionaries, Dr Vaid said, “Pakistan does not want to see BJP strengthening its foothold in Kashmir. Therefore, Pakistan has launched a vicious campaign against the BJP in Kashmir.”
Director general of police Dilbag Singh said, “After the February 25 ceasefire agreement between the two DGMOs, infiltration had come down to zero and there was no cross-border shelling either. However, unfortunately, terrorists have been infiltrating into India, especially from the Rajouri-Poonch sector”.
“Recently, there were three encounters in Rajouri sector — Daddal in Nowshera, Sunderbani and Pangai in Thannamandi. All these were fresh groups. Intelligence inputs suggest the infiltration has resumed and more such intrusion bids are likely to follow,” he said.
If the incidents of past one week are counted, On August 12, a minor was killed, six of a family including a BJP sustained injuries in a grenade attack at Rajouri.
However, on August 13, various incidents of insurgency were reported from across the Region.
Security forces on Friday averted a major tragedy ahead of Independence Day celebrations by arresting one person with Improvised Explosive Device and cash in Mendhar area of Poonch district.
Joint teams arrested one person identified as Mehmood Hussain of Kasbalari with IED having four sticky bombs and an amount of Rs 10500/-.
To counter drone threats that have been looming large in the region for the past more than one month after June 27 Jammu Air Force attacks, the Indian Army has installed an anti-drone technology system along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
A hi-tech anti-drone facility has been installed in some parts along the LoC to counter any nefarious activity from across the border especially the flying objects.
“As Pakistan has changed its strategy in the recent past and is using drones to smuggle weapons, explosives, narcotics on this side of the border,” a senior Army official said.
He added that keeping this new modus operandi of Pakistan in mind, an anti-drone technology system has been launched along the Line of Control.
“This system will help in locating, tracking and shooting down the drone,” he said adding that it will be of great help especially when the drone threat is looming large ahead of Independence Day celebration functions to be organised across the Union Territory.
On July 23, Jammu and Kashmir Police achieved a major success by foiling a terror plot executed by the Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit and shot down one hexacopter (drone) fitted with one improvised explosive device weighed around 5-kg near Akhnoor area here in the city outskirts.
Security forces have also arrested one Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist with arms and ammunition in Kishtwar district just days after two of his accomplices were arrested on August 9.
Ahead of Independence Day celebrations, security forces have also recovered a large cache of arms and ammunition including grenades and detonators from the woods in Doda district.
The recovery included, one Pistol, one 12 Bore Rifle, two country made revolvers (Desi Katta), five grenades, eight UBGL rounds, Pika rounds (being counted), Ak-47 rounds (being counted), two Pistol rounds, detonators (being counted), one Pistol magazine, five Ak 47 magazines, one Binocular with cover, one Handheld Transmitter and Chipset, Black Cloth Patka, Khaki pouches and some documents (under scrutiny)
On August 10, the joint teams of Police and Army arrested two persons with Hawala money near the Line of Control in Poonch district.
The seized amount was Rs 25,81,500/- that was meant for terror financing and two persons were also arrested.
On the same day, Jammu and Kashmir Police recovered a large cache of arms and ammunition was seized from the encounter site including two AK 47 rifles with nine magazines and 232 rounds, four grenades, ammunition pouches, batteries, bandages, pills and other materials of day to day use.
On August 9, the troops of Border Security Force assisted by other agencies recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from a hideout in bordering Poonch district.
The recovery included two AK 47 Rifle, four Ak 47 magazines, one Chinese pistol, 10 pistol magazines, one Set I-Com, four Chinese grenades, four non electric detonators, 15 fuse detonators of Chinese grenades, 16 meter cordex, 257 Ak-47 ammunition rounds, 68 rounds of 9 mm Chinese ammunition, 23 rounds of 7.65 mm ammunition, two mobile phones, 12 battery mobile chargers and two 9 volt batteries.
On August 6, Security forces recovered a cache of arms and ammunition airdropped from a drone in Samba district while wireless sets and other material was seized in Poonch district in two separate.
The joint teams of police and army recovered two Chinese pistols, rounds and other material from a field in bordering Samba district.
The recovery included two Pistols, five Magazines,122 rounds, one silencer, pitthu bag and one blank pipe like IED.
On the same day, two wireless communication sets, batteries and some torches were recovered during an operation launched near a sheep farm in Balnoi area of Poonch district.
Two persons including a minor also suffered injuries when a mysterious blast rocked the site of a construction company along Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Banihal area of Ramban district.
Police claimed that the blast was mysterious.
Two terrorists were gunned down in a fierce encounter in Thannamandi area of Rajouri district on August 6.
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh during his recent visit to Rajouri and Kishtwar districts had said that security forces have strengthened the anti-infiltration grid both at the Line of Control and hinterland to foil all attempts and launching pads are intact across the border where 250 to 300 terrorists are being trained and they are ready for infiltration.
The DGP also said that Pakistan had established Gazwat force to disturb the communal harmony in J&K and added that with the joint efforts of JKP and other forces the group has been completely destroyed.
Singh also added that 57 youth crossed over to the other side of the LoC in 2017 and 2018 on valid documents and visa.
“They joined terror groups there. Among them, 17 infiltrated and were killed in various encounters. 13 are still active in Kashmir while 17 continue to remain on the other side,” he said.
The DGP also directed the officers to be alert to thwart any evil designs of terrorists and their masters.
The security has been ramped up across the Jammu division ahead of Independence Day celebrations particularly around the Maulana Azad Stadium–the main venue to host the function here.
However, alert has also been sounded around Indian Air Force base and all military establishments as drone threats loomed large across the region.
“As per intelligence inputs, terrorist outfits may attempt to carry out attacks in the region to disrupt peaceful celebrations of Independence Day,” a senior police officer said.
He said besides drone threats, infiltration attempts are also being made from across the border while alert security forces have also seized large quantities of arms and ammunition from various hideouts in the recent past.
“Security forces have foiled all nefarious designs of Pakistan, which is out of frustration, trying to play spoilsport in upcoming Independence Day celebrations,” he said.
Special checkpoints have been raised on Jammu-Pathankot, Jammu-Srinagar and Jammu-Poonch national highways and the vehicles are being frisked thoroughly, said an officer adding, “night patrolling has also been enhanced particularly in border hamlets.”
The main venue for Independence Day celebrations in Jammu has been put under siege and no unwanted movement is being allowed around the complex.
Additional Director General of Police, Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh ahead of Independence Day had also said that security has been beefed up in the region to avoid any untoward like incident.
“We are receiving a lot of intelligence inputs and acting on those, security has been tightened across the region ahead of Independence Day,” Singh said in a message.
“All the venues where the National Flag is to be hoisted, are secured and under tight security cover,” he said.
The top cop asserted that hotels are being frisked and suspicious elements are also under check.
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