August 2004 News

Infiltration Spurt Across LoC Alarms Govt

23 August 2004
The Pioneer

New Delhi: Government top brass on Monday expressed concern over rise in infiltration from across the border and discussed measures to counter it including speeding up the fencing work along the Line of Control. The number of infiltration bids have seen an increase from June onwards after a lull during the early months of the year. The issue was discussed during a high-level meeting chaired by union home minister Shivraj Patil and attended by senior officials from the home ministry, Intelligence Bureau, army and para-military forces. Sources said there above 50 infiltration bids have been noticed this month and reports indicate that some more are likely to take place. The meeting discussed ways and means to stop these by stepping up the fencing work along the LoC. The meeting also discussed threats received by several moderate separatist leaders in Kashmir from militant groups like Lashker-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, who have been rallying behind Tehrek-e-Hurriyat-Kashmir formed recently by pro- Pakistan seccessionist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. The government has decided to provide security cover to anyone who desired so and instil a sense of confidence among the separatists who were of the opinion that solution to Kashmir problem could be found out of negotiations, sources said. Besides Patil, the meeting was attended by minister of state for home Sriprakash Jaiswal, centre's pointsman on Kashmir N N Vohra, union home secretary Dhirendra Singh, BSF chief Ajai Raj Sharma, Vice Chief of Army staff Lt Gen Shantanu Chowdhury, Secretary (RAW), senior official from CRPF and Intelligence Bureau. During the meeting, issues pertaining to suicide attacks carried out by militants recently was discussed and the government asked various central para-military forces and other agencies to formulate steps required to prevent such bids by militants in future, sources said. About the deployment of CRPF, which was put on hold, the government asked for feasibility report from security agencies so that deployment of the para-military force could begin in the outskirts of the Srinagar city. About the talks with the hurriyat conference, the government decided to wait and watch the response from the amalgam to the offer of unconditional dialogue by the union home minister. Sources said that Mr Vohra briefed Mr Patil on the progress about the proposed third round of talks with the Hurriyat Conference. The Centre had proposed that the third round be held late July or early August but Hurriyat, torn by internal conflicts, did not respond. The first two rounds of talks were held in January and March with LK Advani.

 

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