Specially trained militants targeted Wullar lake project

Specially trained militants targeted Wullar lake project

29 August 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Militants who stopped the work at the Wullar Conservation Project (Wullar barrage) in North Kashmir on Monday night are said to have been sent specially for this particular mission as Pakistan feels the project is against its interests and in violation of Indus Water Treaty of 1960 between the two countries, highly placed sources said here today. The sources while sharing details with the Excelsior said that security agencies are stunned with this operation and they felt that 7-8 among the 16 militants who stopped work of the Project at Ningli were Pakistani nationals. Sources further revealed that these foreign nationals might have been Pakistani army commandos sent specially for safeguarding the interests of Pakistan in Wullar lake. The sources said that security agencies are looking for the route which these 8 specially trained militants or Pakistan army commandos have adopted for entering into Kashmir for Mission Wullar. They further felt that these Pakistani nationals must have fled Kashmir valley after carrying out their mission. The security agencies ruled out the possibility of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) top commander, Fahadullah, operating in Sopore area being the part of the mission. They, however, said that 8 among the militants who were locals might not be under the radar of the security agencies in Sopore area. Sources said that those who targeted the Wullar project were 16 heavily armed men with half of them locals. 'They came at around 11 a.m. and asked all the labourers and engineers who were present there to stand in a queue. All of them were terrified as they thought that the militants might kill them', the sources added. The gun men beat few of the Project workers ruthlessly and also snatched their cell phones. They were asked to dismantle the culvert that was being used for transportation. The gunmen ensured that the security forces may not use this culvert before they complete their mission. The gunmen also set afire the clothes of workers, broke their cooking utensils and destroyed the equipment used for the construction of the project that is aimed at constructing dykes around the lake so as to raise the water level and use it for the down below power projects of Uri Civil and Lower Jehlem whose generation nose dives in winter because of low discharge. The gunmen also blasted a portion of the project by detonating an IED and also fired in air before leaving. The terrified workers of the projects fled from the area at the first light on Tuesday. The work on the project remained suspended for second consecutive day today despite Government's assurance for the security to the project workers and contractors. Meanwhile, the massive search operation that was launched yesterday continued. Security forces today carried out search operations in Adipora, Ningli and Chinkpora villages besides fanning out in several areas of Wullar lake. The security forces also searched Banyari, Hari Bhat and several islands in Wullar lake that were considered to be safe heavens for militants during early 1990s. Naval unit based in Wullar lake at Watlab, Army, police and CRPF is part of the operation that has been launched against 16 gunmen. So far, the sources said that security agencies are clue less about route that these gun men used for reaching the Wullar Barrage. However, sources said that the militants have not entered Sopore town or have not stayed for any night before the attack in Sopore and its adjoining areas. Meanwhile, security around other Power Projects that Pakistan considers disputed have been intensified. The security of Kishanganga power project in nearby Bandipora has also been intensified and the security of Baglihar power project on Chenab river in Jammu that irks Pakistan has also been reviewed. The Wullar Barrage Project is a navigation lock-cum-control structure at the mouth of Wullar Lake. The objective was to raise the water level of Wullar lake and regulate the flow of water into Jhelum for the use of power projects down below Sopore. The project was conceived in the early 1980s and work began in 1984. But Pakistan objected it and since 1987 work on the project remained suspended. But Pakistan felt under the garb of Wullar Lake Conservation India is violating the Indus Water treaty of 1960 and Mondays night's attack is considered to be poly of Pakistan. Meanwhile, a police spokesman said here that the Police have taken cognizance of an incident at Aadipora, Sopore in North Kashmir where some people had entered into the premises of Wullar Conservation Project and made some superficial and minor damages besides intimidated the workers. Police are investigating from all angles of the incident including extortion as well as intimidation and threatening to workers. Following the assurance by police, that due care will be taken with regard to safety and security of the workers, the work will resume on the project, the spokesman added. Police have registered a case (FIR No. 213-2012) in Police Station Sopore.