No let up in infiltration; 105 Killed
14 November 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Pakistan is making desperate attempts to send trained militants and sophisticated arms and ammunition before the infiltrating routes close due to heavy snowfall, a senior security officer said. There had been snowfall recently in the upper reaches, including routes which were being used by the militants to sneak into India, the officer who recently returned from the forward area said. He said the routes were still open and the militants were infiltrating from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) as the snowfall was not more than six inches to one feet, which was still manageable to walk. The intelligence gathered from different field sources states that there was no let up in the infiltration from across the border, he added. There were 38 encounters along the Line of Control (LoC) in the northern sector of the Kashmir valley since July till October end this year. The security forces were able to eliminate 105 militants, majority of them foreigners, during these encounters. He said 85 per cent of the slain militants were from Pakistan, PoK and other countries while only 15 per cent were locals. ''Despite all efforts to stop infiltration, the militants are sneaking into the Valley as it is not possible to plug the routes because of the terrain is very difficult. However, we could manage to neutralise most infiltrators within the five km border belt before they could enter the towns,'' he said. But the possibility of some militants having sneaked into the Valley can not be ruled out, he said, adding ''we are hoping to eliminate them as now people are willingly coming forward with information about militants and their hideouts. He said the recent unprovoked and indiscriminate shelling by Pakistani troops from across the border in northern areas was to help militants sneak into India. ''They want to engage us in shelling to provide cover to militants,'' the officer said, adding ''but we have taken all precautions to thwart their designs. He said barring some incidents, there were no reports of any major exfiltration bid by the militants. ''We have recently arrested four youth from Srinagar who were being taken to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) for receiving arms training.'' However, he said, reports of fresh recruitment of youth by militant organisations particularly Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker-e-Toiba were received in the recent past. ''They are not being taken to PoK now and instead are being trained in hurling of grenades and handling of small arms like pistol in the Valley.'' ''We have gathered information about these mobile training camps,'' he said, adding ''we have asked security forces engaged in counter insurgency operations to deal with them firmly.'' About the situation in the Valley, he said, there is some improvement. However, no conclusions could be made right now as it could be a lull before the storm, he added. But, he said, the people of Jammu and Kashmir were in favour of total peace in the State as they were fed-up with the violence.