Militants planning Fidayeen attack in Kashmir

Militants planning Fidayeen attack in Kashmir

17 July 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Army today described the attack in the outskirts of Srinagar in Pampore area of South Kashmir on it as alarming and said that militants are planning Fidayeen attacks on security forces. General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen Om Prakash during his first media interaction described the attack on Army in Pampore early this month in which an Army jawan was killed and another injured in broad day light shooting as an alarming. 'It is an alarming situation. The intelligence reports suggest that they were two Fidayeen (suicide squad) who carried out the attack on the Army in Pampore. Intelligence agencies, as recently as a week ago, have reported that militants are planning to carry out Fidayeen attacks and snatch the weapon of security forces,' said the General. The GOC said that some incidents have taken place, like the shootouts at Pampore, Kulgam and Rajpora in South Kashmir. 'Some of them who carried out attack in Kulgam have been nabbed and some people have been taken into custody in Pampore incident as well and security forces are conducting operations against these militants in South Kashmir', he added. The General described the Pampore attack as serious incident and said that the protection of the highway is the priority for the security forces as it is used by both common masses and the Army. He said that to ward off such attacks security has been beefed up. The Army commander said that normally militancy in North Kashmir is higher than South Kashmir due to infiltration through the LoC, support base and huge forest area. 'But of late there have been two attacks on police, one on army in Pampore, two grenade attacks and threatening posters against Panches and Sarpanches which suggest that they are targeting South Kashmir now', he added. The General while describing the militants as a very clever lot said that due to slowed pace of operations and reduced presence of security forces in South Kashmir they occupied the space and are operating there. The GOC said that Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) is making local recruitments in Kashmir to strengthen their depleting cadres. He said that due to the strengthening of counter-infiltration grid over the years infiltration has become very difficult for them. 'And another reason for this is that they want to give indigenous face to the militancy as at international level when a Pakistani militant is killed in Kashmir it makes clear that Pakistan is fighting here', he added. The General said that whether there are small modules of 3-4 or bigger groups it makes no difference to the security forces in dealing with them. He said that whether a militant module is an independent or part of a bigger group in both the cases it has to communicate and it gets noticed. 'Besides this even their physical movement gets noticed', he added. The GOC said that terror infrastructure in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is in tact to support terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that around 550-600 militants are waiting at various launch pads near the LoC in PoK to infiltrate into the valley. 'They are looking for chances to infiltrate and attempts are being made which we have foiled. However, we cannot guarantee zero infiltration but we will be able to counter their designs,' he said. The General said that the militants at launch pads belonged to various groups and from the forward posts of Pakistani army they are carrying reconnaissance to infiltrate into Kashmir. He said that army has foiled their attempt but one can't guarantee one odd attempt might have taken place. General Prakash said that army's design is to ensure that no infiltration takes place and put pressure on them in the hinterland. 'It ultimately depends upon how much we will be able to succeed and how much they will be able to succeed', he added. The GOC said that after the continuous strengthening of counter-infiltration grid along the LoC and operations across the Valley only 280-300 militants have been left. He said that bringing down the number of militants operating in Kashmir valley was due to sustained efforts by security forces. While comparing the level of militants with the year 2000, he said that in that year 2000 militants were killed by security forces in Kashmir. The General said that Indian army has no plans of hot pursuit at the moment as it can't be done due to international ramifications. He said 'we can't enter into PoK or chase terrorist there adding that whenever they will infiltrate we will eliminate them.' It is a national level decision and we are not even thinking of hot pursuit, he added. The Commander refused to comment on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and said 'It is not in my domain and army has left it to the Ministry of Defence', he added. On the recent efforts by 19 members of three families to cross the LoC at Aman Setu, the army commander said that they were asked to follow the proper procedure for returning home. He said that there are minefields along the LoC and even Pakistani army could have fired at them and that is why army didn't allow them to cross over.