September 2001 News

PoK militants being told to leave camps

17 September 2001
The Statesman
SRINJOY CHOWDHURY

New Delhi: Militants in camps in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Pakistan have got their orders to leave. Indian officials today said intercepts show that the militants are being told to clear out, at least for a while. “We have the intercepts to show that the militants have been asked to vacate the camps and merge with the people in the neighbouring villages, but we cannot confirm it as the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has not changed,” a senior official said. Despite the intercepts, there is still no certainty that the militants are moving out of the 70-odd camps just west of the Line of Control and the international border. Officials said there could be two reasons for abandoning the camps, perhaps temporarily. It would suggest to the United States and other countries that the Pakistanis are genuinely keen to stop terrorist activities and also, ensure that they are not “bombed by mistake” during the possible strikes against Afghanistan in future. Thousands of militants are trained in the camps. Then, they cross the Line of Control and enter India. This is done through the Rajdhan Pass and the TMG Pass by militants who want to go to Kupwara and Baramulla or Doda respec tively. The Z Galli is another route to enter India, particularly Doda or Anantnag. Those militants who are trained in Aliabad and North Kahuta enter from Kopra in Pakistan through the Kirni and Betar nullahs in Poonch. The militants trained in Nekyal or Kotli enter through the Manderbol area. Those trained at the Zafarwal base enter through the Sunderbani area. Senior officials said that despite these messages to close down the camps, the militants in Kashmir have not slowed down. “The activity has not come down. Maybe, there will be a slowdown if the camps are abandoned, temporarily or whatever. But right now, there is no decline in action,” one official said. Even the radio chatter levels, intercepted by the Indians, has not gone down appreciably. Meanwhile, there have been unofficial talks between senior military officials in India and their counterparts in the United States of America. ‘Postpone trips’: The Centre has asked top military officials not to leave India for a while, or at least till the crisis blows over. The Navy chief and chief of staffs committee chairman, Admiral Sushil Kumar, who was planning to go to Vietnam, will delay his trip. Other chiefs will also cut down on international visits. The Army chief, General S Padmanabhan, is just back from Japan and there was talk of his visiting South Africa. The Air chief, Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis, was expected to leave for the United Arab Emirates and Oman tonight for a week. That trip will also be postponed.

 

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