January 2004 News

Significant fall in infiltration: BSF

13 January 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR: BSF today said there was a 'significant' fall in infiltration of militants from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir since the announcemnt of ceasefire along the borders by India and Pakistan. However, it was 'premature' to comment on the situation in the Valley after the leaders of the two countries met on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Islamabad, BSF Inspector General Vijay Raman told reporters in reply to a query. There was a significant fall in infiltration after November 26 when the ceasefire between the two countries came into force, he said. 'However, this does not mean that there are less number of militants in the Valley. They might have come earlier and we have to be on guard.' About 1,200 militants infiltrated into the Valley till December last and about 1,800 ultras belonging to different outfits are active in the Valley, Raman said. 'The fall in infiltration can also be attributed to the weather conditions and closing of mountain passes due to heavy snowfall,' he said. Asked to comment on reports of substantial change in the ground situation in the State after the meeting of leaders of both the countries in Islamabad, Raman said 'it is premature to comment on the situation. It is too early to comment whether there has been a change in the situation.' The BSF IG replied in the negative when asked if there were intelligence inputs about the possibility of escalation of violence in the Valley. 'We have not received any report pertaining to escalation of violence in the coming days.' 'The level of violence has decreased but militants are present in the Valley. They are aware of the changing political scenario in the Valley and the change in attitude of both countries,' Raman said. He said militant hideouts are more in the urban areas compared to rural areas but declined to give exact number of such hideouts. 'Here (in urban centres) they completely intermingle with people and are difficult to trace. In hilly areas they can be easily identified.' The BSF IG said his force was capable enough to guard Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road once a decision regarding its opening is taken. 'The road is manageable but the decision is still pending.' Asked how he rates the performance of BSF now that they are being replaced by CRPF in the valley, he said 'excellent. We have done a commendable job in containing militancy.' He cited the killing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Gazi Baba as a major achievement of his force. Earlier, Raman flagged off a contingent of 40 Kashmiri children selected for the ‘Bharat Darshan’, a 18-day tour organised by the force. Besides paying a visit to the historic places, the youth would also witness the Republic Day Parade on their return from South India, Raman said, adding the tour was part of civic action programme of the force aimed at promoting goodwill and understanding, besides providing an opportunity to the youth to see and experience the richness of culture and historical heritage and technological progress made by the country. He said BSF has so far sent 240 Kashmiri students to various parts of the country. (PTI)


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