March 2006 News

After Quake, PoK Militants Return To Valley Unarmed

26 March 2006
The Indian Express

Srinagar: After last October's devastating earthquake that left thousands dead in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), militants staying in this region have started giving up arms and are returning to Kashmir. Since the quake, 27 active militants have crossed the LoC and surrendered before the troops. Official sources said militants surrendered at Army formations near the LoC. Sources added that last December a small group of three crossed the LoC and laid down their arms near an Army post in Uri. In January, seven more militants surrendered in the same sector. Another group of eight followed suit in February, sources said. And this month so far nine militants in three small groups have laid down their weapons. Army spokesman Col H Joneja admitted that the surrenders have taken place near the LoC in Uri. 'It's true the number of militants who surrendered have increased. Soon after the quake, the trend picked up with many active militants giving up arms,' he said. 'The ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan and the urge of Kashmiri militants to return to the mainstream are the main reasons behind these surrenders,' he said. 'After the quake, relatives of the militants saw the humane face of the Army and managed to motivate their boys to join the mainstream,' he said. Officials, however, are surprised over the rising number of surrenders in Uri. 'It is not possible for any militant to cross the LoC through Uri as it is a high security zone. Only after a deal is struck, these militants have managed to cross the LoC,' said a top security official. 'There is every likelihood that more surrenders would take place in the same sector as someone is negotiating with the militants across the border,' he added. 'After the quake, more and more Kashmiri militants are desperate to return to their homes in the Valley. The security forces are taking full advantage of the situation and are promising them safety once they return,' said a top security officer. JK Director General Police recently had said that over 1,500 Kashmiri militants are in PoK and many are looking for an opportunity to give up weapons.
Army jawan killed as LeT ambushes convoy
Suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba militants on Sunday attacked an Army convoy on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway killing a jawan and wounding six others. One of the ultras was also killed when the Army fired back. The militants hurled grenades and opened fire on the convoy which was heading for Jammu, near Drangbal- Pampore, some 14 km from here, a defence spokesman said. A jawan was killed and six were wounded in the attack, he said, adding that the Armymen shot dead an ultra. The injured were admitted to an Army hospital nearby, the spokesman said. A caller, identifying himself as a LeT spokesman, claimed LeT was responsible for the attack.

 

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