IB counters claim of decline in infiltration
12 December 2002
The Times of India
New Delhi: The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has countered the claim that infiltration from across the border has come down. ''The infiltration figures are only rough estimates. Obviously, an exact figure from the rough estimates cannot be arrived at,'' a senior official told The Times of India. Army chief General S Padmanabhan had said recently that infiltration from across the border had come down sharply. ''According to the parameters set by the Army and the estimates from the border areas we have received, it is clear that the level of infiltration has come down by 44 per cent,'' he was quoted as saying. However, the government was careful in replying to a question on the subject in Parliament on Wednesday. ''There has been no spurt in terrorist activities during the last one month,'' minister of state for home Vidyasagar Rao said. ''It is clear from the ministerís statement that the government is not saying that infiltration has come down,'' the intelligence officer said. On the contrary, the government highlighted some recent Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attacks. ''Some major Pak-sponsored terrorist incidents have occurred in Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi during November 2002. In these incidents, 13 security personnel, 14 civilians and six terrorists were killed while 35 security personnel and 46 civilians injured,'' Rao had informed the House. Asked how these figures are collected, the IB official said: ''When an infiltrator is caught in Indian territory, he is interrogated thoroughly during which he discloses the fact that he had come along with a group of 25 persons. But then there are those groups of intruders who do not get caught and manage to successfully slip into Indian territory. Obviously, they cannot be included in the estimate. Hence, these estimates pertaining to infiltration are not exact as they are based on estimates.'' Apart from this, there are those infiltrators who enter their target territory through another state. For example, many infiltrators described that they entered India from Nepal or Bangladesh or Myanmar. In fact, the two Pakistani terrorists allegedly involved in the Akshardham temple shoot-out had, according to the police, come to Gujarat via J&K from across the border, the official added. Thus, the IB feels that it would be too early to say that infiltration from across the border has come down sharply. ''The variation cannot be described as a sharp decline and certainly not in exact percentage terms,'' the official said.