Army Tightens Vigil Along LoC, Conducts Massive Searches

6 January 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Army is conducting massive searches in forest areas of Keran sector of North Kashmir's Kupwara district after inputs that at least two groups of militants have infiltrated in Kupwara sector last week. Army's 7 Garhwal, 15 Rastriya Rifles and 23 Grenadiers launched a joint cordon and search operations in Kandiyan forest area in the district following the inputs. Sources said that these two groups of militants, at least 15 in number, are hiding in the forest area. Sources said that at least 90 militants managed to infiltrate into Kashmir valley from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) in 2014. 'Majority of these militants managed to infiltrate through North Kashmir's Kupwara district from Keran, Tanghdar, Macchil and Gurez sectors since July this year. However, some managed to infiltrate through traditional infiltration route of Uri sector', they added. Sources said that majority of these militants are mostly confined to the forests. Security forces launched operations against them and since the forest area is huge they managed to give them slip most of the times. Despite tight vigil along the LoC, it is porous and militants manage to cross into Kashmir through rugged mountains and gorges. A top army official said here that the LoC can't be completely sealed as the gaps will always remain there but added that counter-infiltration fence has proved to be very effective against the infiltration. In 2013 around 90 militants infiltrated into Kashmir and large numbers of them were eliminated by the security forces in the forests and hinterland during the operations. The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps, Lt General Subrata Saha recently said that army neturalised 160 militants in 2014, out of which 60 were arrested and 100 were killed in various operations by the security forces. He said that 160 to 170 militants are waiting near the LoC for infiltration. After very less snowfall this winter and militants waiting for infiltration, army along the LoC has not lowered its guard. Sources said that they have intensified their vigil along the LoC and are conducting regular patrols in forest areas and the residential areas near the forests to put pressure on the militants. Sources said that since there has been less snowfall this winter due to which no major damage has been done to the fence and it is proving vital for minimizing the levels of infiltration. However, they said that the militants waiting across have all the gadgets that can be useful for them to infiltrate in snow. A security official said that army has intensified its vigil along the LoC after they were surprised by the Mohra attack in Uri last month in which 11 security men including a Lt Colonel was killed. These militants had started from Chamb in PoK, crossed the LoC in Uri and carried out the attack within 24 hours. The official said that army's main concern is to stop such type of Fidayeen attacks.