Army Sees Hope In Cold, Turns Heat On Terrorists
3 March 2005
The Indian Express
Srinagar: With an aim to flush out militants from the Valley taking advantage of the weather conditions, the Army has restarted counter-terror operations which were largely suspended temporarily after the Valley was hit by snowfall, the heaviest in several years. The counter- terror operations were restarted a week ago, almost a month after the Army had to divert attention to the rescue and relief work in avalanche-hit areas in the Valley. The Army feels that combing out militants at a time when the Valley is reeling under extreme cold weather would be easier. With the Valley covered in a thick blanket of snow, the militants are likely to have abandoned their 'eagle nests' in the mountains for safer ground, thus leaving them exposed. The local formation commander, Brig T.S. Gill, said, 'There could be no counter-terror operations when the avalanches and snowfall hit the Valley because there was no time and the conditions were too difficult to operate in. Now that the weather has improved we have restarted operations.' Five days ago, 2 Sector Rashtriya Rifles restarted its search operation in the militant-infested areas of South Kashmir. The 2,500 sq km sector is considered a haven for insurgents, 70 per cent of whom are locals who migrate north-east from Jammu and the rest from across the LoC. A few kilometres from the Army's sectoral headquarters in Wuzur, ahead of the severely affected village of Qazigund on National Highway 1A, RR troops had recovered a firearm last month inside a dhok (hut). An Army captain at the sectoral headquarters, who asked not to be named, told The Indian Express, 'The hills all around are full of insurgent nests. The weather would have softened them up a bit. Even though they would have stocked up for the weather, they could not have expected it to be so bad. So this is the time to get into action.'