Security agencies to set up new camps

Security agencies to set up new camps

22 July 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: The security agencies are contemplating to set up few new camps in South Kashmir to put pressure on the militants operating in the area, mostly the Laskhar-e-Toiba men, who of late have become more active in the area. Highly placed sources said that in a recent security review meeting for the South Kashmir it was suggested that few security camps will be set up in a couple of areas where the security presence is less giving chance to militants to re-group. One of such camps is proposed in the outskirts of Srinagar on the border between Pulwama and Budgam district where the security agencies felt that militants are making much movement, sources said. But setting up of new camps needed Government clearance and for the time being, the security patrols in these areas have been increased to put pressure on the militants. It may be mentioned here that the security presence in various areas of South Kashmir and Central Kashmir was reduced over the years following decrease in the number of militants and militancy incidents. The review meeting to increase presence of security forces in parts of South Kashmir was held in the wake of attack on July 7 on Army in Pampore by Laskhar-e-Toiba militants in which an Army jawan was killed and another injured on the high security national highway. Prior to this attack, two police men were killed, one each in Pulwama town and another in Yaripora in Kulgam district early this month surprising the security agencies. General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen Om Prakash described the Pampore attack on Army as a serious incident and alarming as Army was not expecting that the militants will target such a high security highway. Security agencies admitted that over the years security forces focused on North Kashmir where there are more militants than South Kashmir but militants chose South Kashmir where security forces had decreased their presence following relative calm in the area. Even the Army general said last week that normally militancy in North Kashmir is higher than South Kashmir due to infiltration through the LoC, support base and huge forest area. 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. Security agencies data revealed that there are 25 LeT men operating in South Kashmir police districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Awantipora and Anantnag while there are 62 LeT men operating in Bandipora, Sopore, Baramulla, Handwara and Kupwara police districts. However, the number militants in North Kashmir increased with every successful infiltration attempt and this year as per security agencies around 10-15 militants managed to infiltrate into North Kashmir. Meanwhile, hunt for the four LeT men, who security agencies felt carried out attack in Pampore, is on. Three of them are local including Bilal Ahmad Bhat and Sajjad while Qasim, who is the divisional commander of the LeT is a foreigner. The security agencies feel that they might have carried the attack on policemen as well. The focus of these operations is more in Puhru, Kenihama, Khanda, Gouharpora, Chuntsu, Wagoora, Soot, Ganipora villages in Chadoora area of central Kashmir district of Budgam and Pampora, Letpora, Kakpora, Sombre, Lalhar, Newa areas of South Kashmir district of Pulwama. As per the sources, they had been operating in these areas as there was very less presence of security forces prior to Pampore, Pulwama and Kulgam strikes. Although there are four known LeT men in Pulwama and no known sleeper cells in South Kashmir but security agencies didn't rule out the formation of sleeper cells of LeT in South Kashmir where they got ample time for re-grouping during past couple of years. The security agencies felt that the attack on the Panchs and Sarpanhs and threatening posters might have been the handiwork of these cells. It may be mentioned here that scores of Panchs and Sarpanchs resigned last month in South Kashmir following militant threats.