Pakistan Luring Dreaded Criminals To Join Jehad
18 September 2000
The Daily Excelsior
Rajouri: As local support for the militants has been decreasing with every passing day, the Pakistani authorities were now forcing notorious criminal and killers to join the so-called Jehad. Luring them with hefty amount, ISI has infiltrated some dreaded Pakistani criminals to this side of the border to intensify militancy operations in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. This was disclosed by Major General Richard Khare, General Officer Command (GOC) of the Romeo Force during his interaction with visiting media-men. ''Local youth have ultimately realised the real face of so-called Jehad started by Pakistani authorities'', he said and revealed that militants operating in this region have been running short of ammunition and man-power. ''To meet the shortage, ISI has started recruitment of dreaded criminals lodged in different Pakistani jails for committing grue-some crimes'', he said, adding, '' these criminals, facing death sentences, have been offered hefty amount for their operations in India''. Major General Khare said that proxy war, which was a very low cost option for Pakistan some time ago, has now become an expensive option as it required huge amount to sustain. ''As alienation of the youth including those of Pakistani and other countries have been increasing to join militancy, ISI is now offering numerous incentives to lure youth to join so-called Jehad'', he said and informed that besides hiking operational money, ISI was also providing an insurance cover of Rs 2 lakhs to each militant operating in this area. ''Foreign mercenaries operating in this area have let loose a reign of terror among masses and they are meting out in-human treatment to women and children'', he said while listing reasons of militants losing local support. ''The terrorists, who has surrendered revealed that disillusionment and superiority of security forces were the main reason which forced them to surrender'', GoC said. He added that they also disclosed that whatever was fed to them during indoctrination stage in Pakistan regarding the fear of Islam, genocide and atrocities being committed by security forces was totally false and baseless. Major General Khare said that terrorists of various Tanzeems were so frustrated and under tremendous pressure from their mentors across the border that they resorted to targeting neutral civilian and religious places of Muslims for not providing adequate support to them. ''Locals including militants of Hizbul Mujahideen are averse to the atrocities like rape of young girls and killings of old people being committed by the Lasker-i-Toiba terrorists who are mostly foreigners'', he said. He disclosed that this was the main reason for rift between the local and foreigners. He said that about 300 militants, most of them foreign mercenaries, were active in Poonch and Rajouri. Regarding achievements of the Romeo Force, Maj Gen Khare said that a total of 166 terrorists including 89 foreigners have been eliminated in a short span of six months. ''In addition four terrorists have been apprehended and seven terrorists including an Afgani have surrendered'', he said, adding '' 57 catches have been busted which have resulted in unearthing a titanic quantity of Asla'' Replying to a question, the GoC said that Village Defence Committee (VDC) which were lying dormant and ineffective have been equipped with sophisticated weapons as a result of which they have gained confidence and started protecting the villagers. He said that VDC have been co-opted and integrated with the existing CI grid. Major General claimed that situation in Poonch and Rajouri belt was satisfactory and a safe and secure environment was prevailing. ''The Government officials are attending their offices, moving freely in connection with their official works, children are attending their schools, businessmen are opening their shops regularly and locals are moving freely without any fear of terrorists'', he said and further claimed that normal functioning of the State Government machinery was an indicator of safe and secure environment.