20th July 1997
JAMMU: Union minister of state for home Maqbool Dar on Sunday said infiltration and "ex-filtration" have come down in Jammu and Kashmir during the past few months due to the heightened vigil by security forces at borders with Pakistan. Mr Dar said infiltration was continuing in very low numbers with Pakistani agencies changing their strategy but movement of people from the state across the border had "almost come to a nil."
A number of militants, including foreign mercenaries who had crossed over into the state, had either been killed or arrested and the process of restricting them was on.
He commended the role of the Army and other para-military forces in thwarting the agencies from across the border. Answering a question on fencing of the 280 km international border in Jammu region, Mr Dar said the work could not be done quickly due to firing from across the border, which also hampered the agricultural activities of the people in the nearby areas.
He said the decision to fence the border has not been changed and would be done in a manner so as not to inconvenience the people.
Mr Dar, who extensively toured the border areas in Rajouri, Poonch, Kathua and Jammu districts during the last four days, said the general people were keen to foil the machinations of the subversive elements and anti-national forces.
"Even the security forces were all praise for the people as they have been assisting them in nabbing the militants or subversive elements," he said.
The Union minister, however, regretted that the government was "ignoring" the people in the border areas in matters of employment and other benefits from the Central schemes. Referring to migrants, Mr Dar said efforts were being made to build their confidence and ensure their return to the Kashmir valley in phases. "We hope that they return to their home and hearth soon with honour and dignity," he said.
The Centre, he said, was keen to rebuild the infrastructure in the state and funds were being liberally provided by it for development of tourism, healthcare and education.
SRINAGAR: At least 30 people, including 22 militants and five security personnel, were killed in escalated violence in Kashmir Valley since last evening, even as security forces destroyed a militant camp in the inaccessible upper reaches of Pir Panjal ranges.
The dead include a second lieutenant and a deputy commandant. Three suspected foreign mercenaries and a second lieutenant were killed in a fierce encounter at Nowshehra locality on the outskirts of Srinagar today. The encounter took place after a column of security forces raided a militant hideout in the area early today, sources said.
They said four security personnel, including a deputy commandant of the Border Security Force (BSF) and an inspector, were killed and six others were injured as militants exploded a powerful landmine at Chewa-Safapora.