May 1999 News

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Migrants pour into Rajouri, Poonch

26 May 1999
Pioneer News Service

Unannounced migration is taking place from hilly remote areas of the northern border regions of Jammu as a follow up to increased militant activities.

More than 2,000 people have migrated to Rajouri and Poonch districts. Some of them have settled down in Rajouri and Poonch and few have even come down to Jammu. These people belonging to all communities of Hindu, Muslim and sikh, have bought land and have started constructions in Jammu, considering it safe from the militants.

The border regions of Rajouri and Poonch, which share about 300 kms of Line of Control (LoC), that is, border with Pakistani occupied Kashmir, have been witness to a number of killings by militants. There have been several instances where families have been wiped out. The militants have often gone scot free. The estimated number of civilians killed in this belt in the past one year alone is more than 150, official sources said. The Indian Army did induct an additional division to conduct what it calls "seek and destroy" operations. It achieved some success and killed more than 110 militants since November last year. However, the number of militants and their hi-tech gadgets have worsened the situation.

Those who arrived here, said on condition of anonymity, that some of their relatives were still in the border region. The situation is "intolerable" as the number of militants coming from across the border are constantly on the rise. Fresh infiltration and the militants who are already there have posed serious problems for the people living in those areas. There are areas in these two districts where banks refuse to make drafts as they think that huge cash transactions may invite trouble.

Security forces too admit that infiltration has become a major problem. They claim that the terrain is such that it is difficult to completely rule out infiltration.

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