J&K On Alert After Report That 20-25 Militants Slipped In On ‘special Mission’

J&K On Alert After Report That 20-25 Militants Slipped In On ‘special Mission’

5 March 2010
The Indian Express
Muzamil Jaleel

Srinagar: Security agencies in Kashmir are on tenterhooks after finding out that a highly trained group of 20 to 22 militants arrived in the Valley in the last two weeks on a “special mission”. The group, sources say, does not belong to a particular outfit and has immediately spread across the Valley, especially north Kashmir, where militant attacks are already on the rise. When contacted, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that the government had reports about the group. “It is yet to be fully confirmed but we are working on the assumption that they are correct so as not to take chances,” he said. Sources said the security agencies were alarmed especially after they picked up a sudden increase in communications in north Kashmir which showed an increase in the number of militants. Further investigation, sources said, revealed the presence of a new group of 20 to 22 militants sent for a special mission. There is, however, no clue as to what could be the mission that this group has come to carry out. Sources said the security agencies believe that the group infiltrated via Gurez sector-an input contested by the Army. The J-K police, meanwhile, is worried about the “traffic” from the Nepal route too. The exact identity of this new group of militants, too, is yet a mystery. Sources said that the input has led to an increase in surveillance and the security agencies are analysing every hint to ascertain the nature of a possible attack. Chief Minister Abdullah said that there is no doubt that the new groups that infiltrate into Kashmir are of a higher quality. “We know that quality not quantity has been the focus of the infiltration,” he said. He said the recent spurt in militant attacks is a direct fallout of the higher levels of infiltration in 2009. “It is still better that we go after them rather than let them choose a target and attack.” The militants have been able to reinvigorate their campaign across the Valley and even as security agencies have been able to generate information about the presence of top Harkat and Lashkar commanders in a neighbourhood, they have been able to break the cordon and escape. Militancy had been on its lowest ebb since 2006 especially because of heightened Indo-Pak engagement during President Pervez Musharraf’s tenure when New Delhi and Islamabad were discussing Kashmir. The J-K Government as well as the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, have been consistently seeking the resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue on Kashmir, insisting that it has a positive spillover effect on the situation on ground here. “It is a fact. I even said it in the (J-K Legislative) Council recently. No other state is as affected by Indo-Pak relations as us-both positively as well as negatively. And engagement has a positive spillover,” Abdullah told The Indian Express. Though both the government and the security agencies are silent over the precise identity of this new group of militants, the possibility of these 20 to 22 militants belonging to an entirely new outfit is worrying. “The levels and motivation of the militants active nowadays across the Valley has already come to fore in the recent encounters,” a senior officer said “They are able to take on any force and it’s not just the training to use latest weaponry and determination to keep fighting, they have a much better understanding of battle tactics as well. We are aware that we are against a new breed of militants.”


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