Pak Rangers Gave Cover Fire For Ultras

28 August 2008
The Times of India


New Delhi: The infiltration on Tuesday in the Kanachak area of the Jammu sector seems to be part of a new strategy to use the international border for the crossing over of Pak-based militants into J&K. Though BSF - deployed along the 198km IB in J&K - had stepped up surveillance after the Samba infiltration on May 9, they were caught napping at Kanachak due to the more active participation of Pakistan Rangers who aided the infiltrators by providing them with firing cover. Though Pakistan Rangers, approached by BSF with formal complaints, denied its complicity in the infiltration, Indian officials believe that the daring act of the militants to sneak in after cutting three-layered fence could not have happened without the help of troops across the border. Incidentally, the Pakistan Rangers post on the IB is located very close to the site of Wednesday’s gunbattle. Sources in the home ministry here said the choice of IB over the usual route of infiltration through LoC was part of the militants’ strategy to take more such steps in the near future. Though the terrorists have used this route in May, the current volatile situation in J&K may have acted as a trigger, they said. 'If one looks at past incidents, infiltration increases during summer from April to September when melting of ice in higher reaches open up routes,' said a senior official. He, however, added that intensified security along the LoC has forced the terrorists to focus on IB, which also gives them easy access to their area of operation in the Jammu region. J&K has witnessed around 150 infiltrations till July. Forty cases were reported in May, 45 in June and 32 in July against a total of 33 in the first four months from January to April when ice had not yet melted. Incidentally, the overall annual figure of infiltration - released by the Union home ministry - has remained more or less the same since 2004. The state had reported 535 infiltrations in 2007 against 573 in 2006, 597 in 2005 and 537 in 2004.