Thirty Pak-based Terrorists Infiltrate Kashmir Valley9 May 2011
The Economic Times
New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir is set to witness an eventful summer on the borders with Pakistan-based terrorist outfits successfully infiltrating around 20-30 terrorists into the Valley state in the first nine days of May alone. The sudden spurt in infiltration follows nil figures for the last three months, as against 96 cases recorded in the corresponding period of 2010. What appears of more concern to the security establishment is that over a dozen 'active' terrorist camps are operating close to border-LoC in Pakistan. These 'launch pad' camps of Lashker-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen house nearly 250-300 militants, waiting for the next opportunity to sneak into Indian territory. Even though official figures quote the number of terrorists infiltrated in May at around 8-12, liberal accounts place the figure at 30. What is, however, alarming is that the stepped up infiltration from across Pakistan comes after zero incidence of infiltration through February, March and April 2011. The figure for May - traditionally a high-infiltration month as that is time when the snow melts, opening up passes that act as common infiltration routes - last year was 54, but given the 20-30 cases already recorded in the first nine days of this month, the agencies fear a major jump in infiltration cases for May 2011. According to intelligence assessments, the latest spurt in infiltration may be related to the pressure that Pakistan has come under following the gunning down of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US forces in Abbottabad. The terrorist outfits may be trying to deflect their men to Kashmir, and the agencies see recent firing at Indian posts in Poonch as an attempt at giving cover to the infiltrating terrorists. Interestingly, the LeT and Hizbul Mujahideen are finding it more and more risky to infiltrate its men into J&K. Not only have they been witnessing a lack of volunteers and local support in J&K, but even guides are not coming by easily to escort the infiltrating parties into Indian territory. This has resulted in revised compensation for the local guides, who are now being offered nearly 1.5 lakh for each successful infiltration as compared to 50,000 given earlier. Even the local volunteers are receiving a far more handsome compensation. 'The huge amounts of money being offered to the volunteers and guides are an indication that support for terrorist outfits is dwindling and that they are desperate to sustain their strength in J&K,' a senior official of the security establishment told ET.